British firms will continue to receive mountains of unwanted email, following the European Parliament's decision not to outlaw spam, say industry watchers.
The European Parliament has voted to allow member states to choose whether they adopt an opt-in or opt-out attitude to direct marketing.
"This decision will maintain the status quo, where users will have to opt out of receiving unsolicited mail," said Francois Lavaste, European vice-president of email management firm Brightmail.
By adopting an opt-out approach, which forces users to indicate that they do not wish to receive direct marketing emails, the British government will exacerbate the problem of spam, said Lavaste.
"The worst thing you can do with spam is to reply, as it will confirm that your email account is active. As a result, the amount of spam you receive will increase exponentially," he said.
The costs of spam to UK firms is difficult to assess, with some estimates including bandwidth costs, while others focus on the time employees spend on reading and deleting unsolicited mail.
Analyst firm Gartner estimates that 34 per cent of all email received by firms is unwanted.
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