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Tough Laws against Spammers in Singapore

Spam mails can clog inboxes and increase the phone bills. But soon there will be tough laws that will protect consumers by enabling them to sue for financial loss or damages.

This has already started in Singapore where the government has issued a series of strong new anti-spam laws under which spammers could face a fine of S$25 (U.S. $16) for each unauthorized e-mail they dispatch.

The Spam Control Bill was presented in the Parliament on February 12, 2007. It will rate those companies offensive that deliver bulk advertisements or promotional offers to consumers who have not earlier given their consent to receive them.

According to the proposed Act, if a spam affects an individual, he can sue the sender for the amount he loses as damages, ranging from S$25 per message up to a maximum of S$ 1 million. But the legislation will cover only those messages that have a Singapore connection such as the sender or receiver should be in Singapore.

According to the draft, the messages must contain an address or number to let the recipient unsubscribe. The messages must also label themselves as adverts. The law will not consider dictionary attacks and harvested addresses.

Harvesting software collects e-mail addresses by searching the Internet to use them for spamming. A dictionary attack generates likely e-mail addresses by combining names, alphabets, numbers and symbols in different permutations through an automated system.

If and after the recipient unsubscribe, the spammer will get just 10 days to delete the recipient's address from his list.

The law relates to mass messages of more than 100 of the same one or similar mails dispatched over a 24-hour period, or more than 1,000 of the same one or similar mails over 30 days or 10,000 over one year.

Singapore has been thinking over for a spam controlling law for three years. The bill takes into account only e-mails originating in Singapore. However, 90% of spam mails originate across the border, reports The Straights Times.

The bill whose purpose is to thwart the practice of sending electronic commercial messages in masses requires further assessment by legislators.

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