2 February, 2004: Spam, Spam, wonderful Communications Privacy Directive

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Continuing on the spam theme, I just received junk mail from a company called `UKsoftwarehouse' who were stupid enough to put a UK mailing address in their email. So, I thought, time to call upon the splendid and worthwhile Communications Privacy Directive, which makes spam illegal within the European Union.

Foolishly I'd assumed that it would be a simple matter to complain -- I could forward them the spam, with my contact details, and they could visit their boundless wrath upon the spamming wankers at UKsoftwarehouse, extracting a juicy cash settlement to compensate me for receiving the sodding message in the first place (and to pay for tea and biscuits over at the Information Commissioner's place).

But oh, no. In fact, you have to fill in and mail an actual paper form to the Office of the Information Commissioner. This masterpiece of information design contains gems like,

What is the number assigned to the line you normally use to access this email account?

-- very helpful to those of us living in the post-MODEM age; and,

5. Declaration

I have clearly indicated any information which I do NOT wish to be passed onto the caller/sender of the messages in question.

Huh? Pass on information to the sender of the spam? Do I look like I want them to send me more junk? But the best question of the lot is,

4. Further Action

Has the receipt of these messages had any practical impact on you? (e.g. prevented urgent message from being received, costs incurred)

To which I answered,

Yes. 15 minutes to find, print and fill out this form: 20. Plus 26p for the stamp.

Somehow I don't think they'll be sympathetic to my claim. Oh well.

According to the Information Commissioner's website, I should expect a response

within 35 working days

-- truly this is business at the speed of thought....

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Copyright (c) 2004 Chris Lightfoot; available under a Creative Commons License.