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Criminal Punishment on Spam Mails

Posted January. 14, 2002 09:36,   


The government is likely to ban sending spam emails to recipients who did not request the email, and punish the people who send spam emails. The sites, which are harmful to juveniles, will carry a prison sentence up to 3 years or a fine up to 20 million won if they provide contents even though they are non-commercial.

The Ministry of Finance and Economy (MFE) announced on the 13th that the Korea Consumer Protection Board (KCPB) has located 2850 harmful sites. It said that netizens have been annoyed with spam mails and that it would amend the Information Communication Network Utilization Law (ICNU) and the Youth Protection Law (YPL) by consulting with related departments like the Ministry of Information and Communication (MIC).

The current ICNU regulations on spam emails state that `No one is permitted to send commercial advertising information against the recipient’s expressed intention of rejecting the reception of the emails`. So one can be protected when he or she explicitly expresses the intention of rejecting the emails after he or she received such mails advertising harmful contents such as obscene pictures.

The government decided to amend the laws to prohibit sending spam emails without the request from the recipients even though they did not express their intention to reject the emails.

It is likely that the government will also amend the YPL in order to punish whoever provides juveniles with harmful media regardless of whether they are commercial or non-commercial. Current laws only prosecute those who sell, lend, distribute or show harmful media to juveniles only for commercial purposes.

The KCPB asked the Police Agency and the Commission on Youth Protection to take measures against 1274 harmful sites and spam emails that is a nuisance for netizens.

KCPB sent letters to owners of 80 sites that distribute false and exaggerated advertisements in January, and it will call related departments to pursue criminal punishment should the sites keep continue their operations.

KCPB reportedly plans to launch the standing Internet Observation Center and run the Committee against the Fraud on Internet Trade by cooperating with the Prosecution, the police, and the Korea Fair Trade Commission.

Chan-Sun Hong hcs@donga.com