Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Spam in the UK (part 1)

In the UK it is illegal to send unsolicited commercial email (UCE), otherwise known as 'spam' or junk email. To be more accurate, it is illegal for commmercial organisations in the UK to send spam to members of the public who are also in the UK.

When the new rules were first introduced, on the 11th December 2003, there was concern that they would be rather ineffective. Well, we'll have a chance to analyse what happens when someone reports a spam message to the UK government right here. Over the next few days (hopefully, although it could be longer) I will track an official spam complaint that I have lodged with the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO).

Over the last month I have received a UCE, which I complained about to the sender. The sender apologised and assured no further mailings. One month to the day I received another email. I'd previously warned that future mailings would be reported, so off to the ICO website I went.

The form you have to fill in is fairly short and is available as a Word document. This needs to be uploaded to the ICO website along with any correspondence. A number of formats for these documents are acceptable, including ".doc (MS Word document); .pdf (Adobe Acrobat document); .txt (Text document); .htm & html (Web documents); .rtf (Rich Text Format document); .zip (Compressed file folder); and .msg (Email)."

To be honest, the process was quite simple but very time consuming. Simply finding the previous received and sent email messages is a pain. Reporting lots of spam would be hard work.

My files were uploaded to the ICO within the last hour. Check back to see how this complaint proceeds.