A healthy majority vote in the European Parliament for commercial e-mail opt-in seemed to spell the end for opt-outers, but the weight-challenged person has still not sung. For the latest in this long running saga click here
Who: The European Parliament
When: September 2001
As part of attempts to finalise the Communications Data Protection Directive, the European Parliament recently grappled with the vexed question of whether there should be a harmonised "opt-in” regime for unsolicited commercial e-mail across Europe (no marketing e-mail to be sent without prior express consent from the recipient) or blanket “opt-out" (marketing e-mail can be sent until recipients inform senders or, subject to their availability, preference services that they no longer wish to receive it). In the event, Euro MPs ducked out of making a decision and passed the issue back to Committee with instructions to thrash out a compromise.
Why this matters:
It is clearly essential that the EU gets its act together on this issue to avoid the law falling into disrepute. It is also important that the marketing industry continues to lobby hard for opt-out while there is still a chance of their arguments prevailing. For a table summarising what EU directives currently affect commercial e-mail, including more information about what happened at the September 2001 European Parliament vote, click here.