Spammers Fined for First Time in Holland

Rhett Pardon
AMSTERDAM — Dutch telecommunications regulator OPTA for the first time has divvied out fines for spam originating in Holland.

The OPTA, or Onafhankelijke Post en Telecommunicatie Authoriteit, issued three separate fines on Tuesday, the first since the Dutch government agreed in May to a ban on unsolicited email to consumers.

One of the fines involved spam, or spamberichten, sent to mobile phones via SMS that automatically billed recipients $1.50 (€1.10). OPTA fined the foundation Yellow Monday Etten-Leur $27,200 (€20,000) for the messages.

A fine of $34,000 (€25,000) was issued to a printer, who solicited orders for the book “Mein Kampf,” written by Adolf Hitler. Coincidentally, “Mein Kampf” is banned in Holland.

The largest of the three fines involved an individual who was allegedly responsible for four spam campaigns. That individual was fined $58,000 (€42,500).

In addition to the fines, the group has also sent 14 warnings to spam senders.

OPTA in May launched a site where complaints can be lodged. So far, nearly 6,000 complaints have been filed.

OPTA also announced it recently initiated an information-sharing program for regulators and other European government bodies fighting spam. So far, eight out of 25 European Union countries have signed up.

Meanwhile, a Dutch government panel is now weighing a proposal to extend the ban on spam to the business community.