Danish company fined EUR 54.000 for fax-spamming

By EDRi · January 28, 2004

The Danish Maritime and Commercial court last week convicted the Danish mobile phone company Aircom for spamming. The company has to pay a fine of EUR 54.000 (400.000 DKK) for sending out unsolicited commercial faxes. In Denmark, this is the largest fine issued up till now for spamming.

In court, Aircom admitted to have sent between 7.650 and 15.300 unsolicited faxes to smaller companies. The Danish Consumer Ombudsman had already asked the company a year before to stop these illegal marketing practices, but they didn’t. This was seen by the Court as an aggravating circumstance in the case.

The company was convicted for violating section 6a of the Danish Marketing Practices Act (Markedsfoeringsloven), which prohibits unsolicited commercial e-mails or faxes. The case is the second principle spam case in Denmark within a year.

As with the last spam case, it was the Consumer Council, the supervisory authority of the anti-spam legislation in DK, which sued the company. The Consumer Ombudsman aimed for a fine no less than 94.000 EURO (700.000 DKK).

In Denmark, e-mail, fax and SMS-spamming have been forbidden since June 2000 under section 6a(1) of the Danish Marketing Practices Act (Markedsfoeringsloven). The act creates a very broad privacy-protection, for both physical and legal persons and authorities. However, implementing Art. 13 of the EU Privacy Directive has weakened the privacy-protection in DK. According to the Directive, people that have given their address to companies can be spammed with advertisements for ‘similar services’. This kind of implicit prior consent was previously not allowed under the Danish act. The amendment to the Danish Marketing Practices Act entered into force 25 July 2003.

Danish Consumer Ombudsman press release about the Aircom case (21.01.2004)

(Contribution by Rikke Frank Joergensen, EDRI-member Digital Rights Denmark)