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Home >> World
UPDATED: 20:10, April 12, 2007
Singapore parliament approves spam control bill
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Those who want to send unsolicited commercial electronic messages in Singapore should have to contain functional contact details of the sender and a valid unsubscribe facility.

Singapore's Parliament approved the Spam Control Bill on Thursday.

Both email, short message service (SMS) messages and multimedia messaging service (MMS) messages are covered by the bill.

The bill defines spam as electronic messages sent more than 100 times with the same or similar subject-matter during a 24-hour period, or more than 1,000 times during a 30-day period or more than 10,000 times during a one-year period.

"The bill makes it mandatory for senders to allow recipients to unsubscribe via the same medium through which the spam was received," Lee Boon Yang, Minister for Information, Communication and the Arts, moved the second reading of the bill in parliament.

The sender will also be prohibited from making the unsubscribed request a paid service. Likewise, information contained in unsubscribed service can not be disclosed without the consent of the individual.

Aggrieved individuals and companies may be awarded an injunction, damages or statutory damages of up to 25 Singapore dollars (about 16 U.S. dollars) per message.

Individual can also choose to sue for actual damages if he can prove greater loss.

But the bill does not make spamming a criminal offence.

Lee explained that spammers generally don't act with malicious intent, furthermore, in the international best practices, no other jurisdictions have criminalized act of spamming per se.

He added that in Singapore, spam sent with a fraudulent or malicious component is criminalized under the Computer Misuse Act, so spam control bill should not be viewed in isolation but an addition to total legislative framework against technological abuses.

Public emergency messages sent out in times of crises will be exempt from the bill.

A study conducted by the Singapore InfoComm Development Authority in 2003 found that email spam caused losses of some 23 million Singapore dollars (about 15 million U.S. dollars) in productivity for Singaporean users.

The study also found that email users continued to cite spam as their most important concern after computer viruses.

Source: Xinhua

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