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‘Sex Offenders’ Register’ Lists Senders of Offensive E-Mails in U.K.

Sending e-mails having sexual content could place a sender's name on the sex offenders' register under the modified legislation, enforced during the end of February 2007.

After amending the Sexual Offenses Act of 2003 it is possible to punish for offenses not mainly sexual in nature, by a Sexual Offenses Prevention Order (SOPO). The new amendment includes electronic communication, which may be highly offensive or have an indecent, obscene or vulgar material that is punishable by a SOPO.

According to the Home Office, the new provisions take into account activities including nuisance phone calls, adult messages and e-mails that harass sexually. The amendment in the two sections of the Act, lists offenses that cover a wider area and greater numbers. It covers e-communication strictly within the purview of the Act.

A SOPO charge on anyone subjects him to its terms. A SOPO prohibits a person from performing certain conduct fixed for five years or more. People bearing a SOPO are included in the sex offenders' register.

While businesses should be careful about their e-mail messages, U.K. spammers who use offensive or explicit words in their junk e-mails are also at risk of facing the consequences of the Order. IT security firm, Sophos therefore reminds e-mail users to give second thoughts to a potentially offensive e-mail before sending it.

Anyone listed on the sex offenders' register should not consider the issue leniently, said Carole Theriault, senior security consultant at Sophos in a company press release.

Some senders of course write an offensive e-mail intentionally to cause upset, while others use it for a joke or a sales tactic. But since a recipient might see it differently, it is wise to give them second thoughts. Organizations should elucidate their e-communication policies to company staff. They could also deploy a security solution to block unsolicited messages from reaching recipients' inboxes.

The register aims to regulate the behavior and harm posed by sex offenders. The current amendments cover acts, which are not only sexual in nature but also those that relate to sex displeasures. The present controls would indeed provide relief to many e-mail recipients in U.K.

Related article: “Loopholes did not cause online banking thefts”: ICBC

» SPAMfighter News - 2/28/2007

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