Thursday, May 29, 2008

Israel Bans SMS Spam

Israel's Parliament, the Knesset has approved a bill banning the sending of unsolicited SMSs to mobile phones with fines of up to NIS200,000 (US$61,000) per infraction. The bill also forbids unsolicited phone calls of a commercial nature - as well as email spam.

The new law comes into effect in six months time.
Rather than following an "opt-out" model where recipients have to explicitly say they do not want messages from a sender, the Israeli Parliament eventually opted for a complete ban, except where the recipient has had prior business dealings with the sender. Messages from charities are exempted - as are unsurprisingly, messages from polticians.
According to figures presented to the Knesset, at least 75% of telephone users have opted out of automated calls all ready.
One aspect of the new legislation which is unusual is that rather than leaving the matter to the police and prosecutors to pursue, private citizens can also sue for up to NIS1,000 (US$304) per SMS received without having to prove any loss or damage was caused - providing they can identify the sender.


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