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Should Spamming Be Illegal?

Well, many people have problems due to sudden appearances of pop-up messages which do not move out even after providing deletion commands. If this were to occur during an important job, it could seriously stall work.

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It is not necessary that all unsolicited mail could be dubbed as spam. If a friend forwards your e-mail to another friend, and the latter sends you an individual e-mail it is not spam, although it may be unsolicited mail. It is believed that spamming could not be defeated by laws alone. Since spammers are aware of legal rules, they operate above and beyond legislative practices in their pursuit of choking authentic e-commerce transactions out of business. World wide standards for robust e-commerce business need to be enforced. Seeking permission before sending bulk e-mails to individuals and corporates may be useful and needs to be tested for its efficacy. Effective blocking of e-mail transmission in case of permission denial could mitigate spam. It typically works like this: When a recipient gets an E-mail from an unknown sender, the software automatically returns a message–a challenge–requiring the sender to perform a task such as filling out a form. Presumably, spammers won’t bother. “ (Jesdanun 2003). Thus it is necessary that the subscriber community and practicing software professionals need to conduct brainstorming sessions to find ways and means to arrest the burgeoning menace of spamming and restore coherence in online transactions.


The offensive practice of sending unrequested e-mails, or messages through mobile phones and other communication mediums is called spamming, and the people who indulge in this controversial practice are called spammers. The main aspect of spamming is that it is often difficult to trace the sources of spam, and thus spammers bask in a false sense of freedom and security, contemplating that their activities may not be discovered, or legally proceeded against. However, spamming, according to the writer has been encouraged by a lack of enforcement of civil strictures and laws. Thus to circumvent and thwart spamming there is a need for:

  1. construction of a viable privacy policy;
  2. ensuring that visitors are aware of the terms and conditions of use;
  3. protection of proprietary intellectual property.” (Legal, Ethical Issues and Social Networks: Website legal issues).

Why should spamming be illegal?

The main idea behind spamming is spawned by illegal or devious methods in order to divert internet business traffic away from genuinely intended websites to spurious sites that are intended to lower the value and business of bona fide sites. It is meant to “deliberately subvert a search engine’s algorithms to artificial inflate the page’s rankings.” (Turban et al, 2008, p.772)

The main reason why spamming is illegal is that it is a detriment and hurts online businesses, to a large extent. Further, it is not easily detectable and thus passes off as genuine, much to the later consternation of web users who have been deceived by it. Since remedial measures are tedious and long-drawn, most spammers feel they could get away with their crimes with obvious impunity.

Another aspect regarding online business is that in the absence of transactors knowing each other, the relations are based on mutual trust. Spamming, to a very large extent, removes the trust in online business and reduces it to mere junk. Again, the illegal practices of a few may cause damage to the community as a whole, and people would be skeptical to use even genuine size for fear of being defrauded by spammers. Thus it is seen that “unethical business practices have long-lasting negative business consequences that cannot be repaired.” (Turban et al, 2008, p.772)

Civil laws are broad-based and decide cases on their merits. What has not been adjudged as wrong cannot be punished by it, nor could action be brought against people without evidence and proof. Situational aspects, merits of each case, and the involvement of alleged offenders need to be critically analyzed, examined and debated before a final judgment or pronouncement could be made. The very nature of the internet and online business, its transparency could be its undoing. It may be difficult to pin wrongdoing on an individual, especially in an open and unrestricted scenario, especially constituting political spam, which is also a form of virulent spam. It is often argued that political spam saves a large number of public funds, including television and radio publicity. Again the question of fundamental rights of persons to freedom of speech and expression could also conflict with anti-spamming laws.

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Writer’s views on spamming

While the law needs to respect and uphold a person’s fundamental rights, it is also essential that this does not interfere, or cause detriment to the rights of others. It is seen that spamming creates more problems than it solves, and in the long run, does injure the online business since the discernment between genuine and fraudulent business often gets blurred and could deceive even alert visitors on the internet.

For instance, certain business claims from banks requesting for customer’s ID numbers and access codes look so genuine, that one would be inclined to part with it at first glance, except for the fact that the customer was previously warned by their bankers not to part with any information over the internet since banks would never require such information online. “The posting of a privacy policy and the knowledge that you will be adhering to its strict regulations serve to comfort the user and, more importantly, protect the organization from lawsuits.” (Legal, Ethical Issues and Social Networks Seminar for Week 6, p.1).

The degree of harm that spamming could cause is evident from the numerous civil court cases that have emerged in this connection, and the damages to the aggrieved parties that have accrued resulting from the Courts’ decisions. The legal machinery has the unenviable task of balancing societal order with the individual rights of citizens.

It is necessary to reward good work and discipline bad, or illegal incursions, especially in the online business. Thus it is necessary for public interest to step up the vigil against parasites like splogs, spam which significantly damage online business without provocation or real necessity.


The World Wide Web (www) needs to unite to present a common force against such invaders that threaten the very existence and sustenance of genuine online business and wreak havoc on genuine business transactions through equally dubious incursions. On their part, online subscribers and users need to differentiate between business requisitions that are genuinely intended with those that subsist just to subvert and cause harm to online business for material gains.


JESDANUN, Anick. (2003). Anti-Spam Program Raises Backfire Fears. [online]. Information Week. Web.

Legal, Ethical Issues and Social Networks: Website Legal Issues. (Provided by the Customer).

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Legal, Ethical Issues and Social Networks Seminar for Week 6. P.1. (Provided by the Customer).

TURBAN, E., et al. (2008). Ch.17: Legal, Ethical and Compliance Issues in EC: Splogs and Search Engine Spam to Capture Customer Traffic. Electronic Commerce 2008: A Managerial Perspective.P.772. (Provided by the Customer).

TURBAN, E., et al. (2008). Ch.17: Legal, Ethical and Compliance Issues in EC: Splogs and Search Engine Spam to Capture Customer Traffic. Electronic Commerce 2008: A Managerial Perspective. P.773. New Jersey: Prentice Hall. (Provided by the Customer).

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