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Thread: News: Anti-Spam Bill Headed to Senate

  1. #1

    Post News: Anti-Spam Bill Headed to Senate

    If approved, bill would force e-marketers to include a return address that allows recipients to delete their addresses from databases. Find out more, Friday 5/17 at 8:30 p.m. Eastern on 'Tech Live.'

    By Peter Barnes, Tech Live Washington, DC bureau chief
    May 17, 2002

    Thanks to an angry senator, Congress appears closer to approving legislation to protect consumers from unsolicited email, commonly called spam. Critics, however say the measure is weak. "Tech Live" reports tonight.

    Like many email users, Senator Conrad Burns, R-Montana, hates spam messages. He says he gets "about 46 a day! A day! It was unbelievable as far as I was concerned, and you just 'X' them all out."

    As he was checking his email in his office during an interview, he was hit with yet another one.

    "And I cleared that [account] five minutes ago. 'Freebie today. Need a computer? Guaranteed financing available.'"

    The flood of spam prompted Burns to launch a new effort this year to convince the Senate to pass legislation that would mandate new consumer protections against unsolicited email. Analysts say it is the first spam bill ever that has a chance of passing the body.

    Burns is on the Senate Commerce Committee, where previous spam bills have been blocked.

    The committee approved the Burns bill Friday, sending it on for an eventual vote by the full Senate. Burns was helped by an alliance with key Democrats, who took control of the chamber and its committees last year and who have been historically more disposed to pro-consumer legislation.

    The Burns measure passed despite intense lobbying by marketing companies.

    "We have a legitimate business. It would hurt our business -- it's obviously something we're doing because people are buying things" through spam email, said James Conway, vice president of government relations for the Direct Marketing Association. "We think the problem is one of deceptive practices or fraudulent practices -- that's what should be regulated. As long as the emails are not deceptive, that they're an honest attempt to sell a product or service -- that should be allowed."

    The major provision of the Burns bill would require all e-marketers to include a return address in spam that would allow recipients to delete their addresses from spam databases. Right now, only some e-marketers offer that option, called "opt-out." E-marketers would also have to delete addresses in databanks of "affiliate" operations so that consumers would not have to request deletion of every email coming from one company.

    "It sends a clear signal to the industry that this unwanted mail that continually comes over in our email boxes has got to stop," Burns said. "What we're trying to do is clean it up. We know that e-commerce [companies], sure, they want to market. But nonetheless, there has to be a way to do it. It 's OK to receive the mail the first time, but why do we have to have three a day?"

    Marketing companies instead favor continued self-regulation of spam. They point out that through their consumer website, www.dmaconsumers.org, they offer email users a service to opt out of databases at 5,000 companies that spam.

    The Burns bill would also increase federal fines for unlawful email and allow state attorneys general to sue e-marketers on behalf of consumers in their states.

    Supporters say the legislation, if enacted into law, would have the practical effect of giving state and federal investigators more powers to prosecute fraudulent spammers and pornographers who use spam, because legitimate e-marketing companies would comply with the new requirements.

    But consumer advocates say the Burns proposals are not enough. They want e-marketers to get a person's prior approval for any email solicitation, a practice known as "opt-in."

    "We believe it is important for opt-in protections to be in place," said Chris Hoofnagle, legislative counsel with the Electronic Privacy Information Center in Washington, DC. "As with other rights, it only makes sense to ask people permission before you contact them."

    Privacy groups also want Congress to allow individual consumers, not just state officials, to sue spammers for violations.

    In the House, the two committees recently approved spam legislation, and it is now awaiting a floor vote. Supporters say the House and Senate Commerce Committee actions make prospects better than ever that some kind of spam bill, even a limited one, will end up on the president's desk within the next 18 months.
    The Source


  2. #2
    Senior Member Ouroboros's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    Superior, WI USA

    That's what's happening in my state on the subject...good or bad?

    "entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem"

    "entities should not be multiplied beyond necessity."

    -Occam's Razor

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    System_Overload, you have replaced joke spam with news spam. Please stop posting so many threads...any more than a few per day is excessive.
    Elen alcarin ar gwath halla ná engwar.

  4. #4
    AntiOnline Newbie
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    But at least the "new spam" is related to computers!

    With regard to the Burns bill, I don't really think it will do much good. So many of us are by now programmed to think that we should not respond to spam asking to be removed from the mailing list. How would we know which ones would actually remove our name, and which ones would merely make our names more worthwhile to sell, since they would know they reached a active email box, and a human who actually opened the spam email?

  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Hmmm... almost posted a duplicate thread here...

    This is a week old, but...


    Businesses Seek Death For Senate Privacy Bill

    By Brian Krebs, Washtech

    15 May 2002, 5:11 PM CST

    The Senate Commerce Committee is expected to pass a controversial Internet privacy bill on Thursday, despite heavy resistance from high-tech and other businesses.

    Committee Chairman Ernest "Fritz" Hollings (D-S.C.) has enough Republican votes for his privacy bill after promising to support legislation designed to curb junk e-mail, sponsored by Republican Sen. Conrad Burns (R-Mont.).


    Hollings' "Online Personal Privacy Act" would require companies to ask consumers' permission before collecting or sharing sensitive information such as medical records, financial data or religious affiliation. It also would allow consumers to sue companies that mishandle their personal data, a provision that has drawn strenuous objections from the high-tech business community.


    Burns' anti-spam bill requires that commercial e-mail messages contain valid return addresses that recipients can use to decline more unsolicited e-mail. Spammers who fake their e-mail or physical addresses would face fines up to $1.5 million and up to a year in jail.

    The legislation also would allow state attorneys general to sue on behalf of residents who repeatedly receive unwanted spam.


    Reported by Washtech.com, http://www.washtech.com.
    \"Windows has detected that a gnat has farted in the general vicinity. You must reboot for changes to take affect. Reboot now?\"

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Originally posted by System_Overload
    thesecretfire get off my *** you ***. I will post what I want!!!!
    No you won't.

  7. #7
    Kicks Negative......


  8. #8
    AO Curmudgeon rcgreen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2001

    Thumbs up

    How are you going to outlaw spam without
    instituting censorship?
    Deep thinkers should think again before
    being enthusiastic about censoring
    those people we find annoying and useless.

    Is there a technical method to filter out
    that which we call "spam"?
    I came in to the world with nothing. I still have most of it.

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