|Series Title||European Voice|
|Series Details||Vol.7, No.3, 18.1.01, p22|
FIRMS are calling on MEPs to dismantle European Commission proposals they claim will hamper their efforts to use e-mail to target new customers.
The demand comes as Parliament prepares to examine draft rules unveiled last summer by telecoms chief Erkki Liikanen that update existing telemarketing legislation for the Internet age.
The proposals - designed to put an end to 'spamming', in which companies inundate e-mail users with unsolicited messages - would force firms to get permission from consumers before they send them sales pitches through cyberspace.
But companies ranging from German publisher Bertelsmann to US software-giant Microsoft oppose requiring that consumers 'opt in' to receiving bulk e-mail, and insist that the burden should be on anyone who wants to 'opt out' of getting them.
They warned at a conference organised by the Parliament's rapporteur on the issue, Italian independent MEP Marco Cappato, that the proposed rule would outlaw legitimate efforts by firms trying to use the Internet to sell goods to targeted groups of customers.
They also insisted the move would do little to keep 'spammers' from peddling pornography and get-rich-quick schemes by 'harvesting' data from e-mail news groups and chat sites, a practice already outlawed by a directive on data protection.
But in an interview with European Voice, Liikanen defended the proposal, claiming it would actually help firms boost credibility among consumers still unconvinced of the safety of buying goods online.
"When you see surveys, 50% of people cite security and privacy as the most important issues," said the Commissioner. "The 'opt-in' is terribly important."
He said his own experience of trying to remove himself from mailing lists of firms which had e-mailed during the Christmas holiday had convinced him of the need for the measure.
Firms are calling on MEPs to dismantle European Commission proposals they claim will hamper their efforts to use e-mail to target new customers.
|Subject Categories||Business and Industry|