Hong Kong's Office of the Telecommunications Authority has now published the Code of Practice under the Unsolicited Electronic Messages Ordinance, which serves as guidance to senders of commercial electronic messages on how sender information and unsubscribe facility statement should be presented, and the type of unsubscribe facility that should be provided, in commercial electronic messages.

"To fully understand the legal requirements, senders of commercial electronic messages should read the CoP in conjunction with the UEMO and the UEMR. Senders should review their existing practice and service platforms and take necessary action to ensure that they will be able to comply with the legal requirements when the second phase of the UEMO commences," a spokesperson of OFTA said.

Phase One of the UEMO has taken effect this June while Phase Two, which mainly concerns the rules for sending commercial electronic messages, will come into force on December 22, 2007. Following a public consultation conducted in September, OFTA has finalized the CoP and will publish it in the Hong Kong Gazette on November 30, 2007 in accordance with the requirement of the UEMO. The CoP will take effect when both Phase Two of the UEMO as well as the Unsolicited Electronic Messages Regulation come into operation. The UEMR, subject to negative vetting of the Legislative Council, will also commence on December 22, 2007.

"The availability of clear guidelines for senders will also help protect recipients' interests. For example, in a fax message, the CoP requires that the sender information and unsubscribe facility statement must be presented either at the top or the bottom of the first page of the fax message. In this way, the recipient should be able to locate such information easily," elaborated the spokesperson.

Apart from the CoP, senders should also have regard to the do-not-call registers which will be launched under the UEMO in phases starting from this December. When the DNC registers come into operation, senders of commercial electronic messages should not send commercial electronic messages to the numbers which have been listed on the DNC registers unless they have obtained consent from the relevant recipients.

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