January 11 2001 Avoiding the Spam Advokatfirman Delphi | E-commerce - Sweden E-commerce Central Register Other Solutions Since May 2000 the Swedish Marketing Act (1995:450) has governed marketing methods that use e-mail and automatic calling devices. To protect consumers from annoying marketing via e-mail (also known as 'spam'), Sweden has adopted an 'opt-out' solution. This means that anyone who does not want to receive e-mails from a certain commercial sender can notify the sender and opt out of the prospective recipient population. If the sender ignores this request and continues to send e-mails for marketing purposes, the sender is liable for damages. Central RegisterWhile preparing an amendment for the relevant section in the Marketing Act, the legislator suggested that the opt-out solution calls for a central opt-out register. Without such a register, a consumer would have to contact every single sender of commercial e-mails in order to effectively opt out. Further, the consumer would have to accept at least one commercial e-mail from each sender before being able to opt out. The legislator concluded that a central opt-out register would be the fairest and most efficient solution for preventing unwanted marketing e-mails. However, the Swedish Consumer Agency has declared, pursuant to a study, that it is not feasible to set up a central opt-out register. Other Solutions An opt-in solution, where a consumer is required to opt in before the consumer can be targeted with marketing related e-mails, is an alternative method of protection against unwanted commercial e-mails. The opt-in solution has previously been used for automatic telephone calls and fax messages. With regard to the Electronic Commerce Directive (2000/31/EEC) and the difficulties of creating an opt-out register, the future of the opt-out solution remains uncertain. At present, companies are allowed to send marketing-related e-mails to Swedish consumers until the consumers explicitly announce that they do not want any more e-mails. There is an alternative solution for consumers. Registers of consumer information are frequently used for marketing purposes. According to the Personal Data Protection Act (1998:204), an individual's personal data must not be used for marketing purposes if the registered person has declared, in writing, that he will not permit such a use of his personal information. Such a declaration, submitted to the main registers, may be the most efficient way to avoid spam. If a company subsequently violates the declaration, that company may incur civil liability in the form of damages. For further information on this topic please contact Agne Lindberg at Advokatfirman Delphi & Co by telephone (+46 8 677 54 00) or by fax (+46 8 20 18 84) or by e-mail ([email protected]).The materials contained on this web site are for general information purposes only and are subject to the disclaimer.