The Tech Vote, and how to lose it.

We techie types are a fickle lot.  We hate our spam and will positively discriminate against any company that used this medium to market their message.

So today, the day before the European elections in the UK, arrives a political spam from a John Gilliland,, promoting himself as the IT friendly vote.

Well I have got news for you Mr. Gilliland, you’ve one less vote tomorrow.

I also wonder how Mr Gilliland obtained his list of spam addresses, because it does seem his spam was very much targeted to any address he could get in Northern Ireland.

Read on….

Yes. Perhaps Mr Gilliland isn’t aware of the law.  I know it’s not an excuse to be ignorant of the law – especially for one so in-tune with the IT industry.  Let me explain.
Mr Gilliland, may fully be aware that on the 11 December 2003, a new law came into force: The Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003 specifically prohibiting what he has just done.

Section 22, Use of electronic mail for direct marketing purposes states:

22. (1) This regulation applies to the transmission of unsolicited communications by means of electronic mail to individual subscribers.

    (2) Except in the circumstances referred to in paragraph (3), a person shall neither transmit, nor instigate the transmission of, unsolicited communications for the purposes of direct marketing by means of electronic mail unless the recipient of the electronic mail has previously notified the sender that he consents for the time being to such communications being sent by, or at the instigation of, the sender.

    (3) A person may send or instigate the sending of electronic mail for the purposes of direct marketing where –

(a) that person has obtained the contact details of the recipient of that electronic mail in the course of the sale or negotiations for the sale of a product or service to that recipient;

(b) the direct marketing is in respect of that person’s similar products and services only; and

(c) the recipient has been given a simple means of refusing (free of charge except for the costs of the transmission of the refusal) the use of his contact details for the purposes of such direct marketing, at the time that the details were initially collected, and, where he did not initially refuse the use of the details, at the time of each subsequent communication.

    (4) A subscriber shall not permit his line to be used in contravention of paragraph (2).

So, in particular:
Individual subscribers?  Well I certainly did not subscribe.  This is the infamous "business" get-out clause where the law does not cover spams to businesses.  However, I would contend, and Mr Gilliland will know this full well, that businesses cannot vote in elections and so his message was clearly directed at any individuals who received the message.

Opt in – No, I didn’t opt in.
Neither has Mr. Gilliland given his "subscribers" a mechanism to opt-out, a legal requirement.

Mr. Gilliland, please feel free to comment on this.

The spam in full:

Return-Path: <>
Received: from unknown (HELO (
  by with SMTP; 9 Jun 2004 13:30:36 -0000
Received: from [] (helo=DNS1)
        by with asmtp (Exim 4.34)
        id 1BY33W-0007cL-VH; Wed, 09 Jun 2004 08:23:51 -0500
Message-ID: &lt;019b01c44e24$b4a1ac60$6a0aa8c0@DNS1>
From: "John Gilliland" <>
To: <>
Subject: Gilliland – ‘Optical Fibre, the Motorways of the Future’
Date: Wed, 9 Jun 2004 14:21:19 +0100
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: multipart/alternative;
X-Priority: 3
X-MSMail-Priority: Normal
X-Mailer: Microsoft Outlook Express 6.00.2800.1409
X-MimeOLE: Produced By Microsoft MimeOLE V6.00.2800.1409
X-AntiAbuse: This header was added to track abuse, please include it with any abuse report
X-AntiAbuse: Primary Hostname –
X-AntiAbuse: Original Domain –
X-AntiAbuse: Originator/Caller UID/GID – [0 0] / [47 12]X-AntiAbuse: Sender Address Domain –

John Gilliland argued for rethinking Northern Ireland’s IT strategy. 
"Northern Ireland must set ambitious telecom infrastructure targets if it is to encourage genuine high-tech, knowledge-based companies to site their operations in the province. The motorways of tomorrow consist of optical fibre cables, connecting businesses in our key towns and cities to Europe and the rest of the world via the internet….

Read the full press release at

John Gilliland is standing as an independent candidate in the European elections on June 10th

No Politics Just Action

Gilliland 1

Unit 3b,
Weavers Court Business Park
Belfast BT12 5GH
Tel 028 90333550   Fax 082 90333613

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