In July 2003, the Government adopted, at the Inter-Ministerial Committee for the Information Society, a series of measures to combat spam, the implementation of which was entrusted to the DDM. A contact group bringing together the main players in the Internet, both public and private, was set up. The work of this contact group has led to a concrete solution: a national platform for automatic spam reporting.
13.Two approaches to regulating spam: opt-in and opt-out
The regulation of spam is traditionally considered through two approaches: opt-in and opt-out:
The opt-in approach, literally “opt for”, is more in favour of protecting personal data by ensuring that messages cannot be sent without the prior consent of recipients. Concretely, this approach requires prospectors to obtain, prior to any sending, the consent of the user to receive advertisements in his email box. The holder of the address must have the possibility to give his consent or not, for example by ticking a box of the type «I wish to receive by e-mail information about your company». This box cannot be checked by default.
The opt-out approach, literally “opt-out” is more in favour of prospectors, allowing messages to be sent to all those who are not opposed. Concretely, the user must register his opposition with the prospector or register on an opposition register (list of people who do not wish to receive advertising and commercial messages).
By Directive No. 2002/58/ of 12 July 2002, Europe adopted the opt-in approach, which sets out the principle of prior consent. Member countries had until 30 October 2003 to transpose this directive into their national law. The transposition into French law was carried out with the law for confidence in the digital economy of 21 June 2004.
The United States has adopted an opt-out approach (federal law that came into force on 1 January 2004).
To learn more:
Directive No. 2002/58/ of 12 July 2002 on privacy and electronic communications
Law no. 2004-575 of 21 June 2004, Trust in the Digital Economy Act.