Skip to main content

Internet: Direct Mail

Volume 475: debated on Tuesday 13 May 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what steps his Department is taking to reduce the incidence of spam on the internet. (200677)

I have been asked to reply.

The Information Commissioner's Office has responsibility for enforcing the regulations that control unsolicited e-mails (spam) and considers complaints about breaches. A breach of an enforcement notice is a criminal offence that can attract a maximum fine of up to £5,000.

Spam is a global problem and one which, it is estimated, accounts for over 80 per cent. of all internet traffic1. Much spam originates outside the UK. For that reason, the steps we can take in the UK to reduce its incidence are limited.

However, my Department has frequent discussions with internet service providers (ISPs) on improving filters and other mechanisms to prevent mischievous traffic reaching their customers, and making end users more aware of the tools available to them to counter spam. Many ISPs have specific spam mail boxes where individuals can report and complain about specific e-mails, as well as offering filtering software which can be used to prevent spam being received.

1 Source:

Symantech—The State of Spam—April 2008.