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Not Out But In

If it happens to be Monday and you’re not reading this, then perhaps it’s because the Internet has collapsed.

Of course this has nothing to do with hackers or a sinister attack on our national infrastructure and everything to do with KPNQwest, which handles nearly half of Europe's Internet traffic, sliding into bankruptcy last week. The company is threatening to pull the plug unless it’s creditors settle their debts, by close of play today, Friday, I suppose, a remote possibility, given that I’m the only person left at my desk and everyone else is watching England playing Argentina, surrounded by empty cans of Lager.

Now, if you happen to be an AOL or a Freeserve subscriber, then it’s quite possible that you’re looking at a blank screen now and if you’re not, then you should be surprised and relieved simultaneously.

And on another European note, and as expected, The European Parliament has voted to make the sending of unsolicited email ‘Spam’ illegal. This won’t actually pass into law until next year and ‘cookies’ have been saved from being banned under the same legislation but it does rather leave one isolated nation hanging off the edge of Europe, fighting bravely alone for the right to have its citizens spammed by tedious offers of Swedish furniture, personal massage services and the kind of sleaze that deserves a personal invitation to tea at No10.

As I briefly pause to delete a Spam message that has just dropped into my mailbox from mattgerche@euol.com I can say with confidence that CW360 has clearly demonstrated that its readers don’t wish to be spammed and hold strong views on the dithering that inflicts this sordid plague upon everyone using the Internet. When the subject of Spam is discussed privately, I find that people in Government are clearly embarrassed and agree that ‘Opting in’ is the more sensible solution than ‘Opting-out’ but nobody appears to know why on earth, as a nation, we are defending Spam as a legitimate marketing tool and supporting the right of others to continually pester us with the contents of Pandora’s Box.

So Government, will you please accept that if there was a referendum, there be overwhelming support for the banning of unsolicited email and that continued support for principle of ‘Spamming’ suggests that you have lost touch with popular opinion and have little grasp of the productivity costs that Spam imposes on British business, as well as the danger that it presents to the younger and more vulnerable parts of our society.

Ban Spam or at least tell us why you believe we shouldn’t and why an ‘Opt-out’ policy is in the public interest.

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