European Parliament proposes tough behavioural ad rules

Nicholas Bohm nbohm at
Sat Nov 13 15:02:45 GMT 2010

On 13/11/2010 12:37, Peter Tomlinson wrote:
> Nicholas Bohm wrote:
>> On 12/11/2010 14:28, Roland Perry wrote:
>>> In article <4CDD0277.1040907 at>, Peter Tomlinson
>>> <pwt at> writes
>>> >From Pinsent Masons in their weekly out-law newsletter:
>>>> Adverts based on a web user's activity should carry a sign saying
>>>> 'behavioural advertisement' and display a window explaining what
>>>> information has been used to select that ad, a draft report by the
>>>> European Parliament has said.
>>>> More at
>>>         require advertisements sent by e-mail to contain an automatic
>>>         link enabling the recipient to refuse all further advertising
>>> Again, isn't this already the law (if the sending of the email was
>>> legal
>>> in the first place)?
>> I didn't know it was the law (is it?), but just as one shouldn't reply
>> to spam because it encourages the sender, so - a fortiori - one
>> shouldn't visit the spammer's webpage, which could do even more harm.
>> This therefore seems a clueless suggestion.
> I suspect that it may be the law under the USA (?) CanSpam Act (which
> is what some emails refer to). 

As Joel kindly points out, it's with us via PECR - see

> Certainly with UK originated business-to-business sales and marketing
> emails it is now very common to see an Unsubscribe URL (which usually
> works) or, sometimes, an Unsubscribe email address (a much more clumsy
> way that usually requires you to reply from the mailbox to which the
> email was sent, not always convenient). (I get rather too much
> unsolicited but genuine B2B stuff, partly because my domain was
> registered a long time ago, partly because some rogue bulk emailers
> were for a while very persistent, and partly because of confusion with
> another domain name that is rather similar - the Unsubscribe link is
> now usually effective. And I get some B2C that are also quite genuine
> emails with Unsubscribe links, but. Hilary's Blinds has been a big
> nuisance...)
> And I do sometimes visit the spammer's web page, but with cookies and
> scripts turned off.
> However, we are considering here the unskilled consumer, so, given the
> amount of phishing that's going on, one would expect the miscreants to
> start using Unsubscribe links if people operating legally are forced
> to use them. This all tends to give support to the idea of having a
> safe online ID method, so that you get a warning about (or should be
> able to completely block) emails from sources that don't provide bona
> fide certificates from trusted providers - and then the miscreants
> will get into stealing certificates or persuading CAs to let them have
> certificates. (I'm still puzzled as to why Firefox/Kaspersky is
> telling me that lots of business and even public sector sites are
> using Kaspersky personal certificates for SSL.)

I'm all for other people having super duper online ID which is easily
distinguished from all the useless ID one gets; but I object to being
required to have it myself.

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