Technology & Science

Hong Kong cracks down on spam

Spammers and other senders of unsolicited advertising – bulk faxes, text messages and pre-recorded voice messages – may face hefty fines or jail terms under a new Hong Kong law announced Monday.

Spammers and other senders of unsolicited advertising — bulk faxes, text messages and pre-recorded voice messages — may face hefty fines or jail terms under a new Hong Kong law announced Monday.

Violators can be fined up to one million Hong Kong dollars, or about $138,000 Cdn, and spend five years in jail. People who hack into computers to send commercial messages may face up to 10 years in jail, the Xinhua news agency said in a release.

The law comes into effect in two phases, the first on Friday.

Marion Lai, the Hong Kong deputy secretary for commerce, industry and technology, said in December that 95 per cent of Hong Kong's spam came from outside the country, but that most faxes and voice calls were local.

The new rules do not cover person-to-person telemarketing messages.

A recent study in the U.S. found that Americans are getting more junk e-mail than ever, but are learning to live with it.

Thirty-seven per cent of e-mail users said junk e-mail, or spam, had increased in their personal e-mail accounts, up from 28 per cent of users who said the same thing two years ago, according to the latest figures of the Pew internetand American life project, published on May 23.