Countries of the World Cup email laws

Countries of the 2018 World Cup: How Do Their Email Laws Compare?

The 2018 FIFA World Cup is upon us. The soccer tournament, held every four years, pits the best teams in the world against each other. The international event also offers email marketers a chance to cash in with engaged audiences worldwide.

In celebration of the tournament, we thought it would be fun to look at how the participating countries line up off the field with their email laws. Since one of our specialties at Email on Acid is spam testing, we found the different rules and regulations quite interesting.

Group A

🇷🇺 Russia (Hosts)

🇸🇦 Saudi Arabia

🇪🇬 Egypt

🇺🇾 Uruguay

Russia 🇷🇺

First, we’ll look at the hosts of the 2018 World Cup: Russia. Unsurprisingly, there are no laws in this country specifically for email. Rather, the internet service providers (ISPs) in Russia are responsible for blocking spam.

This means if you’re sending email to Russian subscribers, you do not need explicit consent to email these users. However, you may still find your emails landing in the spam folder.

Saudi Arabia 🇸🇦 

Saudi Arabia is another country, like Russia, that does not have any email laws. However, that could all change soon with the CITC (Communications and Information Technology Commission) releasing the Regulation for Reduction of SPAM which aims to combat spam emails.

This regulation defines spam as “any electronic message transmitted without the prior consent of the recipient.” The law also goes beyond regulating spam and forbids email address harvesting through means of computer software.

Egypt and Uruguay 🇪🇬 🇺🇾 

There are no email anti-spam nor data protection laws in Egypt or Uruguay.


Group B

🇵🇹 Portugal

🇪🇸 Spain

🇲🇦 Morocco

🇮🇷 Iran

Portugal 🇵🇹 

Although Portugal does not have its own anti-spam or email laws, it is a member of the European Union (EU). This means Portugal is covered by the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

What does this mean for email marketers sending to Portugal? You’ll need explicit consent to email these subscribers.  There’s plenty more for marketers to know about GDPR and it’s worth reading; breaking this regulation can lead to fines of up to €20 million!

Spain 🇪🇸 

While Spain also falls under the GDPR umbrella, it also has its own anti-spam laws, established by the Spanish Act on Information Society Services and Electronic Commerce 2002.

This act states:

  • Opt-in is required to email Spanish citizens
  • An unsubscribe option is required (and should be processed within 10 days)
  • The sender must be clearly identifiable

Breaching any of these rules could land you with fines of up to €600,000!

Morocco 🇲🇦 

Morocco also has a GDPR-esque regulation around data protection called the Law n°09-08.

This law requires that data subjects must consent to receive emails and senders must be clearly identifiable. There is currently no information regarding potential penalties or fines, but this law does only apply to registered businesses sending emails in Morocco.

Iran 🇮🇷 

Iran does not currently have any laws or legislation covering email or data protection.


Group C

🇫🇷 France

🇦🇺 Australia

🇵🇪 Peru

🇩🇰 Denmark

France 🇫🇷 

France, by being in the EU, is covered by GDPR. They also have their own legislation for email spamming, found in the Law of June 21 2004 for Confidence in the Digital Economy.

This law states that senders should:

  • Gather explicit consent only from an opt-in approach
  • Provide an easy-to-use unsubscribe in each email
  • Clearly identify the sender and their contact information

With possible fines going up to €750 per email, you’ll want to make sure you obey these regulations.

Australia 🇦🇺 

The Australian parliament passed the Spam Act 2003 to combat email spam. This act requires consent for all electronic messages sent in Australia or to Australian email addresses. There are a few exceptions to this act, notably charities and the Australian government.

The act goes on to state that senders must provide clearly identifiable contact information and an easy way to unsubscribe. Senders breaching these rules could see fines of up to $2m AUD.

Peru 🇵🇪 

Peru has some fairly interesting laws around email spam. The Anti-Spam Law No. 28493 covers unsolicited emails.

The law defines these unsolicited emails as “email that contains promotional, commercial information regarding good and services.” Any emails that fall under this category must:

  • Prefix the subject line of the email with PUBLICIDAD (Spanish for advertisement)
  • Feature the full name of a contact person at the company
  • Include an email address a user can reply to if he/she wishes to opt out of all future mailings

Mailings in Peru are not considered unsolicited if:

  • It has previously been requested by the recipient
  • There is a prior contractual relationship between the sender and recipient

Denmark 🇩🇰 

Denmark, as a member of the EU, is covered by GDPR.

They also have their own Danish marketing practices act that covers best practices and regulations around marketing, such as requiring consent from subscribers.


Group D

🇦🇷 Argentina

🇮🇸 Iceland

🇭🇷 Croatia

🇳🇬 Nigeria

Argentina 🇦🇷 

Email in Argentina is covered by the Personal Data Protection Act. Interestingly enough, Argentina is one of the few countries that have adopted an act or law to cover email, but still allow an opt-out approach. They also require that:

  • Recipients have the right to be removed
  • The right to unsubscribe is clearly stated in Spanish
  • It’s clear that the message you’re sending is commercial.

Iceland 🇮🇸 

Iceland does not have its own email regulations or anti-spam laws, nor is it covered by the GDPR. This isn’t surprising, considering their small population of under 350,000 people.

Croatia 🇭🇷 

Croatia does not have its own email regulations or anti-spam laws. It is, however, a member of the EU, meaning Croatia is covered by GDPR.

What does this mean for email marketers sending to Croatia? You’ll need explicit consent to email these subscribers.  There’s plenty more for marketers to know about GDPR and it’s worth reading; breaking this regulation can lead to fines of up to €20 million!

Nigeria 🇳🇬 

Nigeria has a reputation for spam emails, but they’ve been making strides to tackle the spam problem. The 2005 Nigerian Cybercrimes Act defines spam as “an abuse of electronic messaging systems to indiscriminately send unsolicited bulk messages to individuals and corporate organizations.

We have yet to see any regulations around unsolicited email messages, but Nigeria is taking steps in the right direction.


Group E

🇧🇷 Brazil

🇨🇭 Switzerland

🇨🇷 Costa Rica

🇷🇸 Serbia

Brazil 🇧🇷

Brazil also has a reputation for prolific amounts of email spam thanks to their lack of anti-spam laws.

There is a large movement by activists, ISPs, and recently the Brazilian government, to create a framework for data protection and spam. If you’re interested in learning more, you can find additional information here.

Switzerland 🇨🇭

Switzerland is tough on spammers. Although they are not covered by the GDPR, they have a very stringent set of rules and regulations. Breaking these can result in up to three years in prison.

They require senders to:

  • Receive explicit permission from subscribers
  • Use double opt-in (this is technically not required, but the law advises it heavily)
  • Clearly identify the email as commercial
  • Include an unsubscribe link

The law also forbids senders to:

  • Pre-select checkboxes for opt-in
  • Conceal their identity

Costa Rica 🇨🇷

Costa Rica is an interesting country to consider when thinking about spam laws. Though they lack any official anti-spam laws, they do make efforts toward countering spam.

RACSA, the government-owned ISP that serves the majority of Costa Rica, issued a specific ruling on spam that requires an opt-in/opt-out system. Breaching this rule could result in having your account shut down.

Serbia 🇷🇸

Serbian law requires that email messages containing unsolicited adverts or products be sent only with prior consent. This means that senders in Serbia need to:

  • Gather consent before sending
  • Provide a simple and free-of-charge method of unsubscription
  • Not conceal their true identity


Group F

🇩🇪 Germany

🇲🇽 Mexico

🇸🇪 Sweden

🇰🇷 South Korea

Germany 🇩🇪 

Although covered by the GDPR, Germany still boasts some of the strongest anti-spam and email regulations in the form of the Federal Data Protection Act and Telemedia Act.

These regulations mean that senders in Germany must:

  • Gather consent through double opt-in
  • Clearly identify the sender and contact address
  • Keep a record of consent
  • Include an unsubscribe link in every email
  • Not encourage users to “forward to a friend”

Mexico 🇲🇽 

Mexico currently has no regulations for email or anti-spam.

Sweden 🇸🇪 

Sweden is another member of the EU and is covered by the GDPR. They also have their own laws around email, set out in the Swedish Marketing Act.

Put simply, senders in Sweden must:

  • Only send to recipients who have consented in advance
  • Include a valid address that recipients can reply to if they want to unsubscribe

South Korea 🇰🇷 

South Korea has an act known as the Network Act that regulates all people and companies inside South Korea. You will also have to abide by these rules if you send to South Korea.

What do senders need to know about email in South Korea? You must get explicit consent, and consent must be re-consented every two years.

Further, email list purchasing is allowed, but you must re-permission any bought lists. You’re also required to include the word “advertisement” in both English and Korean. Moreover, as with many other countries, you’re required to include an unsubscribe link in every email.


Group G

🇧🇪 Belgium

🇵🇦 Panama

🇹🇳 Tunisia

🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 England

Belgium 🇧🇪 

Belgium is another country covered by the GDPR, but they also have their own set of email laws.

Senders in Belgium must:

  • Receive explicit opt-in consent from recipients
  • Record all consent and store the records
  • Not conceal the commercial nature of the message
  • Provide an option to unsubscribe
  • Clearly provide contact information

Panama and Tunisia 🇵🇦 🇹🇳 

Neither Panama nor Tunisia has any anti-spam regulations.

England 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 

Although England is covered by GDPR, they also have their own set of regulations known as PECR (Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations).

This means that senders in England need to:

  • Capture and store record of consent, which must be given freely by the recipient
  • Only capture consent with an opt-in
  • Provide an option to opt out in every message

However, under PECR you can still email people on a soft opt-in basis if:

  • They provided their email address in negotiating a contract or product
  • The content is related to the services/products they previously negotiated for
  • An option to opt out is present


Group H

🇵🇱 Poland

🇸🇳 Senegal

🇨🇴 Colombia

🇯🇵 Japan

Poland 🇵🇱 

Poland is yet another country competing in the World Cup that is covered by the GDPR.

They do, however, also have their own regulations as set out in the Law of 18 July 2002. This law states that senders must use an opt-in model and that sending unsolicited email is punishable by a fine.

Senegal and Colombia 🇸🇳 🇨🇴 

Neither Senegal nor Colombia has any anti-spam regulations.

Japan 🇯🇵 

Japan is covered by The Act on Regulation of Transmission of Specific Electronic Mail. This act sets out the following requirements for senders:

  • Include an opt-in system with a record of consent
  • Immediately unsubscribe anyone who requests it
  • Include identifiable contact information including name, address and email address of the sender

It’s also worth noting that senders outside of Japan can be punished for sending spam to Japanese contacts.


Did We Miss Something?

If you notice that we’ve got something wrong here, please don’t hesitate to let us know! Feel free to leave a comment below or hit us up on Facebook and Twitter. We want to make sure we’re giving the best information possible.

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