ASML (Finnish DMA): Spamtraps are illegal

A little bird told me that the Asiakkuusmarkkinointiliitto (“Customership Marketing Association”, for lack of an official translation) (www, biz reg, register of associations) has posted an anonymous opinion piece that basically says they think spamtrapping is illegal.

As usual with spammers, they’re trying to blame anyone and everyone else for their own shortcomings. Dudes, if you get caught for your spamming, does it really matter to you how it happened?

Comments were open initially, but are now closed, without any of the comments having been posted. I am aware of several quite acrid comments that were posted there (I chose not to) but it appears that none were accepted for publication, and the possibility for commenting has been removed from the article.

Have the guts to stand behind what you’ve said, and “.JPG or it didn’t happen” to all your “suspicions”.

2 Responses to ASML (Finnish DMA): Spamtraps are illegal

  1. My colleague is just a bit pissed off, I see. 😉 If I could read that article, however, I think that I might be as well. Since the writer was unwilling to sign his or her name to it, and the web site owners won’t allow any comments or objections, I can only think that they’re afraid of what others might have to say.

    For what it’s worth, the idea that it is somehow illegal to have and use spamtraps to catch bulk emailers who mail to email addresses that did not explicitly request their email sounds nuts to my American ears. I don’t discount the possibility only because I know how crazy the laws can get in my country and some others. The usually-sane Finnish people seem to do a decent job of avoiding America’s worst excesses in many areas, but I can’t entirely rule out the possibility that somebody got careless writing a data privacy protection law or something of that sort. Lawmakers are (gasp) human, and human beings make mistakes.

    I will say this: if some law in Finland makes use of spamtraps illegal, then Finnish lawmakers need to fix that law, not because an American says so but because it would make the difficult task of tracking down spammers and holding them accountable impossible inside of Finland. Your citizens will not thank you for the resulting barrage of junk email into their email accounts.

    I suspect, however, that what you’re dealing with is yet another spammer fine upstanding bulk email marketer who found himself shut down after he was caught sending bulk email to spamtraps somewhere. The article was after all posted anonymously, and we know that most spammers hide from the light. 😉

    • I was instructed to ask the CEO of ASML, Mr Jari Perko, about who posted the piece, and he said it was himself.

      Mr Perko is a qualified lawyer (see LinkedIn) and prior to his current post (full time CEO of the Finnish DMA since 2003) has been the legal director for a Finnish cellphone operator and for the Finnish Federation for Communications and Teleinformatics, and directed the “Privacy and Internet unit” of the Ministry of Communications (that would these days be FICORA) from 1995-1999. So it doesn’t look like he himself has been involved in spamming at any point, but he is definitely heading a lobbyist organisation for the benefit of direct marketers, which unfortunately naturally includes spammers.

      The point about spamtrapping being supposedly illegal has to do with how you aren’t allowed to disclose the contents of private communications addressed to somebody else that you’ve received in error, or even disclose the fact that that has happened. This doesn’t apply when the communications aren’t private because they have been made generally available, but apparently a “private” bulk e-mail addressed to hundreds of thousands of recipients hasn’t been made generally available in the opinion of these fine gentlemen.

      However, it is legal according to the Domain Name Act to re-register a domain name that has been left disused by somebody else. I would have thought that one becomes the rightful party to any communications sent to such a domain name by the mere fact of owning the domain name, eliminating the “addressed to somebody else” and “in error” bits, but I’m not a lawyer. At any rate, by registering a domain name that has been used previously, it follows that one may very well receive at least attempts to deliver messages to addresses that used to exist during the previous tenancy. Of course, according to M³AAWG best practices, one would leave such a domain name rejecting all incoming mail for a period of at least 12 months, but as we know, even that doesn’t seem to be relevant as domain names that have been left unused for ten years or more keep being bombarded with brand new solicitations today.

      An acquaintance of mine had some very apt comments that the ASML declined to publish:

      So it is the responsibility of the email address owner to find out if their address has been previously used by somebody else, including when the address has been supplied by the operator. The sender bears no responsibility, contrary to what the law seems to state. An interesting interpretation. So that means I am therefore potentially a great criminal because I receive tons of “confidential” Viagra ads in my inbox. Right. I would prefer not to break this sort of confidentiality. How do I do that, short of closing all email accounts I have?]

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