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Presentation Annual Report 2006; announcing spamfine

OPTA: EUR 55,000.00 fine for spammer who ignored previous warning. OPTA Chairman Chris Fonteijn revealed this during the presentation of the organisation’s 2006 annual report. The Commission of the Dutch Independent Post and Telecommunications Authority (OPTA) has imposed a fine of EUR 55,000.00 on the managing director of the company, ID2001. For more than two years this managing director sent unsolicited e-mail messages to consumers containing advertisements for his business (spam). He had ignored a previous warning given by OPTA. This is the second largest fine which OPTA has ever imposed on a private individual. Chris Fonteijn, OPTA’s chairman, announced this today during the presentation of the organisation’s Annual Report and Market Monitor 2006. OPTA considered a number of factors when determining the amount of the fine. For instance, the offences occurred over a long period. What also played a role was the fact that OPTA had already issued a warning to this businessman at the beginning of this period. In spite of this he continued to send out spam on a large scale. However, when doing so he pretended that the messages were being sent by some other organisation. Yet he had himself invented this organisation to conceal his identity. In addition, this person had failed to respond to requests from consumers to refrain from sending them any further messages. OPTA had received a great many complaints about this businessman through Vulnerable Internet connections When transmitting the spam, the managing director used a technology known as ‘war driving’. He drove around the Netherlands with a laptop computer equipped with a wireless network card and logged in to other people’s unencrypted wireless networks. Then he transmitted large numbers of spam messages through these networks. During the presentation Chris Fonteijn emphasised “that this again confirms how important it is for consumers to ensure that their Internet connections are secure. Consumers need to be aware of the dangers posed by the Internet. Internet service providers play a major role when it comes to educating consumers. We are consulting them about their so-called duty of care.” Spyware The fact that Internet security is important is also revealed in the Market Monitor 2006, which OPTA presented today. The Netherlands has one of the highest coverage rates in the world featuring computers with broadband Internet connections. More than 5.1 million households (71%) enjoyed broadband Internet access in 2006. These are ideal conditions for international criminals to transmit spyware, for example. Spyware consists in installing code on a computer without permission, for example, to retrieve credit card details from it. According to the Market Monitor 2006 the Netherlands is the third largest disseminator of spyware in the world. OPTA has conducting various investigations focusing on spyware criminals since last year. It expects to proceed with the imposition of sanctions this year, Chris Fonteijn reported. Trends highlighted in the Market Monitor 2006 Apart from this, the Market Monitor 2006 reveals that consumers are increasingly procuring more telecommunications services from one and the same provider. For instance, at the end of 2006 there were 2.5 million households (35%) which were sourcing fixed telephone and Internet services from the same provider. The corresponding figure for 2005 was a mere 1.5 million households (21%). Significant growth was also evident in the case of other combinations, such as Internet access and television. New technologies, such as digitisation, are making it possible to provide various services through the same network. These so-called bundled services are attractive. Competition is fierce in respect of both price and service. More competition, fewer parties The Market Monitor 2006 also reveals that competition is on the rise. Electronic communication service providers are increasingly active in various markets. Nevertheless, those parties that are active in traditional markets, such