A BAILIWICK businessman is believed to be the first to win a legal victory over a company sending unwanted emails. Former Alderney States member Nigel Roberts took action against Media Logistics UK after it bombarded him with advertisements to his personal email account.
Mr Roberts is thought to be the first successfully to sue senders of junk electronic mail under UK legislation.
In an out-of-court settlement, the Scotland-based advertising firm is reported to have paid Mr Roberts '270 and a '30 filing fee.
Following the judgement, the Internet expert is reported as saying: 'This may be a tiny victory but perhaps now spammers will begin to realise that people don't have to put up with their email inboxes being filled with unwanted junk.'
One of the Channel Islands' main Internet service providers, Newtel Solutions, said it found and destroyed thousands of unwanted emails and viruses every day. But company director Peter Funk said it was impossible to filter out every spam message.
'As an Internet service provider, we protect customers from the kind of email that attacks, such as viruses, and routinely trap and discard up to 100,000 emails a day.
'The other types that happen at a customer level are sent directly to the recipient's email address which might advertise a product.
'We do not see these as spam and they might have been requested by the customer and are from legitimate companies.
'The only way to protect at a higher level is with the correct software and filtering system.'
Laws governing privacy and electronic communications have been working in the UK for the past two years and are designed to protect individuals from unwanted emails.
Since their inception, the UK Information Commission has been given the power to investigate some incidents, although this is thought to have been the first successful legal action.
This was after the EU passed an anti-spam directive three years ago, which made the establishment of a framework of national laws possible.
Despite increased legal powers, computer users are becoming increasingly frustrated with often obscene messages that can tap into personal information.
Cable & Wireless Guernsey said it had a new blocking system to cut the number of unwanted emails.
Marketing manager Steve Eldridge said: 'In 2004 we installed an anti-spam software package that has stopped one million messages a month.
'We don't know the content of every message and it would be an invasion of privacy to look through every one to check if it could possibly be spam.'