My inbox is flooded with mass emails being sent by suppliers who are promoting their services. I get emails from those offering massages, to those showcasing other services they can offer. I hear there is a new law that protects us as consumers from such messages. What about mass messages inviting persons to attend a debate or seminar? Please guide.
The Electronic Transactions Act of 2015 provides for this and makes it illegal for such commercial suppliers to send you unsolicited messages. Section 32 of this Act states that (1) A person shall not send unsolicited commercial communication on goods or service unless- (a) the consumer consents to the communication; (b) at the beginning of the communication, the communication discloses the identity of sender and its purpose; and (c) that communication gives an opt-out option to reject further communication. (2) The consent requirement is deemed to have been met where- (a) the contact of the addressee and other personal information were collected by the originator of the message in the course of a sale or negotiations for a sale; (b) the originator only sends promotional messages relating to its similar products and services to the addressee; (c) the originator offered the addressee the opportunity to opt-out and the addressee declined to opt-out; and (d) an opportunity to opt-out is provided by the originator to the addressee with every subsequent message. (3) An originator who contravenes this section commits an offence and shall, upon conviction, be liable to a fine of not less than ten million shillings or to imprisonment for a term not less than one year or to both. You can see that if the commercial advert is unsolicited, it is illegal and the sender can be fined ten million shillings or be imprisoned for a minimum of one year, or both. However this does not apply to non commercial communication meaning that mass e mails with free debates and seminars would not fall foul under this law.
Further, section 20 of the Cyber Crimes Act of 2015 states that (1) A person shall not, with intent to commit an offence under this Act – (a) initiate the transmission of unsolicited messages; (b) relay or retransmit unsolicited messages , or (c) falsify header information in unsolicited messages; (2) A person who contravenes subsection (1) commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine of not less than TZS 3M or three times the value of undue advantage received, whichever is greater or to imprisonment for a term of not less than one year or to both.
It is important for those sending out mass emails for commercial purposes or those emails that will end up being an offence under the Cyber Crimes Act to be careful as they can be fined and imprisoned.