The Knesset yesterday passed in its second and third readings a bill submitted by Minister of Communications Ariel Atias banning the sending of advertisements by SMS, e-mail, fax, and automatic dialing systems without the prior consent of the addressee.
Atias said, "This law will stop the harassment of customers who do not want to receive advertisement messages. It will balance the need of companies to reach customers. The law will save unnecessary costs, especially for SMS and faxes."
The mass mailing of unwanted advertisements - spam - by various media has become a global nuisance in recent years. Spam sent by e-mail, SMS, fax, and other means has been rising steadily and fast. Spam causes problems at a number of levels, including hacking computers, distribution of viruses, damage to privacy, and harassment. It has also harmed the development of e-mail and businesses. Spam adds unnecessary costs to the public, including telecommunications operators, companies, private Internet users, and enforcement agencies.
The bills passed yesterday allows persons to sue advertisers for compensation without the burden of proof of harm, for any spam sent without prior consent in writing. Violation of the law is now a criminal offense carrying a fine of up to NIS 202,000, or up to NIS 67,300 depending on the severity of the violation and its substance.
The law will come into effect in six months, to provide time for preparations.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on May 28, 2008
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