Monday, December 22, 2008

Increased criminal penalties for spammers

In good news for Irish internet and mobile phone users the sending of spam has for the first time become an indictable offence, carrying a possible maximum penalty of €250,000 or up to 10% of a company's turnover (Sunday Times, Silicon Republic). Most cases will presumably remain in the District Court, where the maximum penalty is increased to €3,000. The changes should substantially strengthen the hand of the Data Protection Commissioner in dealing with persistent offenders.

Update - 12 January 2009: The full text of the amending statutory instrument is now available. Other changes made by the SI include extending to two years the period in which summary prosecutions can be brought, providing that in prosecutions where consent is an issue the burden of proof rests on the defendant to show that a subscriber opted in, clarifying the scope of the soft opt-in provision in respect of similar goods or services, and providing that an officer of a company can be prosecuted without the need first to proceed against or convict the company of the offence.


  1. it'd be nice if we could do something useful regarding the overseas spammers, though, who send the vast majority of email spam. sadly, Irish legislation is unlikely to affect them :(

  2. Good point as usual Justin. This is more likely to be significant in relation to SMS spam where the offenders tend to be local.