Germans consider prison sentence for spammers

By EDRi · March 24, 2004

The German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine reports about plans from the
governing Social-Democrats (SPD) to make spamming an offence in Germany.
According to the SPD, merely introducing fines is not enough, and spamming
should become an offence, with penalties or a prison sentence. The working
group on Telecommunication and Mail of the SPD did not yet decide on the
length of the desired sentences. Germany will implement the anti-spam
legislation in a specific law against unfair competition that also forbids
unsolicited faxing, not in the simultaneous pending revision of the
Telecommunication Law.

According to SPD-representative Ulrich Kelber prison sentences are
necessary to be able to stop the biggest spammers, that send out millions
of unsolicited commercial mails. 2 or 3 of the biggest spammers from the
TOP-50 are suspected to stem from Germany. The opposing Christian-Democrat
and Conservative parties (CDU/CSU) do not wish to introduce penal
sanctions, but stick to (administrative) fines.

Like many other EU-countries, Germany has not implemented the new European
anti-spam legislation in time. The deadline for implementing the directive
on privacy and electronic communications (200/58/EC) passed on 31 October
2004. Only 8 countries were successful. On 17 December 2003, the European
Commission took the second step in infringement procedures, sending
‘reasoned opinions’ to Germany and Belgium, France, Greece, Luxembourg,
the Netherlands and Portugal. Spain was only just-in-time to escape the
infringement-procedure. On 17 February 2004, the deadline for responding
passed, but the Commission has not yet announced which countries will be
referred to the European Court of Justice.

FAZ, ‘Gefangnisstrafen fur Mail-Mull’ (22.03.2004)

European Commission announces infringement procedures (17.12.2003)