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Paris Hilton Spam

No longer crimlnal when sent by a political party?

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STOCKHOLM (Rixstep) — Spam is illegal in many countries. Sending spam can result in severe consequences. Now try telling that to the Swedish judicial system or Sweden's incumbent Center party.

Sweden's Center party - formerly the farmer's party and currently 'on the ropes' in election polls - took to an unorthodox method to get their point across on the eve of the national elections: send spam - 268,000 SMS messages in a country with only 9,000,000 inhabitants and only a fraction connected with cellphones.

Sweden has 500,000 first time voters for the elections. Center's clever idea was to spam them. It's not known what type of 'software' they used. But 268,000 were hit by an SMS message promoting the Center party.

'I was insulted', said Johanna Åsberg. 'I didn't like it at all. I think we can research things ourselves. It feels like they're trying to take advantage of young people who aren't certain how they want to vote.'

The Center party's campaign manager Mikael Artursson shrugs it off. He says they got the addresses from the postal address register and that he has no intention of retaining the addresses after the elections.

'We've seen it as an opportunity to encourage young people to vote and to tell them about our party. It doesn't take as much time as ringing them up. They can just delete the message if they're annoyed by it.'

'There aren't many people who've rung us to complain.'

Paris Hilton Spam

Spam is spam and even in Sweden it's illegal. But then there's Paris Hilton Spam™ - which evidently is not illegal at all. Sweden's Konsumentverket (consumer agency) ruled that spam from political parties is important public service information.

But political science professor Henrik Oscarsson doesn't agree.

'If it arrived via ordinary email it would have been regarded as spam. I wouldn't have dared do as the Center party did. The cellphone is a very private matter for most people. They don't expect spam from a political party when they hear it ring.'

See Also
Aftonbladet: Unga sura över Centerns SMS

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