On March 26, 2009, the German Ministry of Justice announced that the government adopted the “Act against unsolicited telephone advertising and for improvement of consumer protection in special types of sales”. Pursuant to the Act, violations of the existing prohibition on unsolicited commercial telephone calls can now be sanctioned by fines of up to €50,000. In addition, the Act clarifies that a commercial telephone call is lawful only if the recipient has given prior explicit consent to the call. The provision is intended to prevent the caller’s reliance on consent that may have been given by the recipient in a totally different context or after the call was placed. Furthermore, those placing commercial telephone calls may not hide their telephone number or identity. Violations of this prohibition may be sanctioned by fines of up to €10,000. The Act will have to pass the Federal Council in May, and is likely to become effective this summer. Further information (in German) is available here.