Privacy Advisor

Global Privacy Dispatches- Israel- New Anti Spam Law

July 1, 2008

By Dan Or-Hof, CIPP

New Anti-Spam Law Enacted

On May 27 the Israeli parliament enacted an amendment to the Communication Law that addresses the issue of unsolicited messages through electronic communication. While following the European 'opt-in' approach, the new anti-spam law also adopts principles and guidelines from American and Australian anti-spam acts.

The law bans the sending of messages with the intention of soliciting the purchase of products or services—whether sent through email messages, fax services, automated dialing systems or SMS messaging services—without receiving prior written or audio recorded consent.

The strict demand for prior consent is mitigated by two exemptions. An advertiser may send a one-time unsolicited offer to businesses to accept further commercial messages. An advertiser may also send unsolicited commercial messages if the receiver of the message is a client or a potential client of the sender, if the message refers to a product or a service similar to products or services purchased by the client in the past from the sender, and if the receiver is given proper opportunity to refuse any further messages.

The advertiser must conspicuously indicate that the message is commercial in nature and that the receiver has a right to refuse any further messages. The advertiser must also provide clear contact details for sending refusal notices.

Failure to comply may result in statutory damages of up to NIS 1,000 (approximately $300) per unsolicited message, and fines of up to NIS 202,000 (more than $60,000). A violation may also give rise to a class action against the advertiser.

The new law will come into full force and effect within six months.