Wed, Jun. 29, 2005

Go Phish: Fax, EMail, Europe

.   While the new Junk Fax Prevention Act of 2005, S. 714, enables spammers to freely contact those who publish fax numbers on the internet, see proposed 47 USC §227(b)(1)(C)(ii)(II), Europe makes spammers even happier with its E-Commerce Directive which some countries interpret to require that all web writers publish, in an easily accessible manner, comprehensive contact information.

Austria's most recent expansion of this requirement will come into force on July 1, 2005 and covers all web publishers. Recently, Germany began tinkering with its telecommunications services statute which in §6 contains the disclosure requirements generally known as Impressumspflicht.

Stephan Ott published a few days ago a useful overview of the requirements of the German statute. He places particular emphasis on the issue of protection of EMail addresses, by way of encryption and graphics. He concludes that these anti-harvesting techniques may run afoul of the law.

Generally, Europeans appear to be less aware of the risks of phishing than Americans and there is a lot of support for the disclosure requirements for personal data on the internet--despite a long and intense tradition of data protection outside of the internet.

Eventually, they will have to figure out, like America, how to unphish their data and identities. At present, Europe appears hell-bent on emasculating safeguards developed over half a century.

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