The mass text messages that the People’s Party and the Centre Party sent to thousands of Icelanders before the elections were illegal, the Post and Telecom Administration in Iceland (PFS) has ruled.
Many Icelanders were puzzled and annoyed to have received unwanted text messages from these two parties shortly before elections were held last October. In both cases, these texts encouraged people to vote for the parties in question.
These texts were sent to tens of thousands of Icelanders, including those who had deliberately registered their numbers on the “black list”, which is designed to prevent receiving unwanted spam.
PFS announced that further investigations revealed that both parties had clearly violated the law in this practice. Specifically, Icelandic law forbids the mass distribution of electronic marketing unless the recipient has specifically requested receiving it.
In both cases, the individuals responsible for sending out the spam will be fined 150,000 ISK each, in addition to any legal fees which may be incurred.
Both parties were complete newcomers to parliament. While the People’s Party was formed in 2016, the Centre Party, led by former Progressive Party chair and former PM Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson, was formed just weeks before the elections. They would end up winning four seats and seven seats, respectively, in Iceland’s parliament.