European Parliament calls for ban on unauthorised reading of emails by advertisers

9 November 2010

European Parliament calls for ban on unauthorised reading of emails by advertisers

SP Euro-MP Dennis de Jong describes himself as 'pleased' by the support he received for his proposals in the European Parliament to improve protection for consumers against unsolicited advertising. New Internet techniques mean that advertisers are going too far in their use of advertising email shots, in the European Parliament's view. "In the past you could be sure that the postal service weren't reading your mail. But this is now happening on a large school on the Internet, where emails and chat sessions are read by corporations in order to target advertising. The European Parliament wants to put an end to this. From now on this shouldn't happen without explicit permission."

Dennis de JongAs well as putting restraints on the abuse of the consumer's privacy, the European Parliament also voted to back research into how vulnerable groups are targeted by advertisers. "A young person who doesn't have the latest kind of cellphone can be made to feel that he or she counts for nothing, while some old people and those on low incomes are easily led to buy products which they perhaps can't really afford. The EU is now going to weigh up what to do about advertising directed towards vulnerable groups and how advertisers can be prevented from going too far in their temptation of such people."

The SP in the European Parliament also believes that the sector has a responsibility in this. "These measures are being taken now because certain practices go much too far, but the majority of advertisers exercise some restraint. I have therefore urged also that in the future advertisers show themselves to be more responsible and that the sector itself should get rid of these kinds of practices. Advertisers are sufficiently creative that they should be able to produce good advertising in a responsible fashion."

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