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Electronic marketing and internet use
Are there rules specifically governing unsolicited electronic marketing (spam)?
Yes. The approach to spam involves opt-in consent, which implies that spam may not be sent without first receiving the addressee’s consent.
The relevant provision dealing with spam is Section 30A(b) of the Communications Law (Telecommunications and Broadcasting) (5742-1982), which provides: “No advertiser shall transmit an advertisement by or through facsimile, an automatic dialling system, an electronic message or SMS, without receiving the express prior written consent of the addressee, including by an electronic message or in a taped conversation.”
This stringent requirement obliges the advertiser to secure the “express prior written consent” of the addressee before sending any spam (whether by facsimile, an automatic dialling system, an electronic message or text message).
However, there are exceptions. An advertiser may transmit an advertisement even if consent was not obtained from the addressee, if all of the following hold true (see Section 30A(c) of the Communications Law):
- the addressee provided his or her details to the advertiser in the course of purchasing a product or service, or in the course of negotiating the said purchase, and the advertiser notified him or her that these details would be used for sending advertisements;
- the advertiser has given the addressee an opportunity to notify it of his or her refusal to receive said advertisements, generally or with respect to a certain type of advertisement, and the addressee did not do so; and
- the advertisement refers to a product or service of a type similar to the product or service purchases by the addressee.
There are additional specific exceptions to the Communications Law, especially with regard to donations and political messages.
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