n South African Law Journal - The regulation of unsolicited commercial communications (spam) : is the opt-out mechanism effective?

Volume 125, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0258-2503
  • E-ISSN: 1996-2177



A growing number of companies are using e-mail as an important component of their online marketing strategies. However, this brings about the problem of 'spam', i e, unsolicited junk mail. Spam is such a nuisance to consumers that it threatens the way we communicate. In order to limit spam, both technical and legal measures have been put in place. In countries where anti-spam legislation has been adopted, two mechanisms have been used to limit spam, namely either the opt-out or the opt-in mechanism. South Africa has adopted the opt-out mechanism in the Electronic Communications and Transactions Act 25 of 2002. This paper considers the problems posed by spam and methods used to send spam to consumers and focuses on the effectiveness (or lack) of the opt-out mechanism.

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