Dutch get tough with email spammers

Amsterdam - The Dutch telecommunications industry watchdog has issued its first fines against spammers.

These included one person and two companies who sent unwanted emails and cellphone text messages.

The Independent Post and Telecommunications Authority (Opta) also said it had signed an agreement with French privacy watchdog CNIL to exchange information on spammers.

The highest single fine - €45 000 (about R340 000) - went to a person involved with four spam emails, including one message praising Adolf Hitler's book Mein Kampf that was disguised to appear as if it were sent from a Dutch anti-spam activist.

The same spammer sent unwanted messages advertising financial software in co-operation with a publishing company, for which the company was fined €25 000.

In a separate case, a company called the Yellow Monday Institute sent unwanted SMSs under the name "Purple Friday" and charged e1,10 each to people who received them. It was fined €20 000.

Opta said it had received 6 000 complaints about spam and sent 14 warnings, and it planned to levy more fines next year.

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