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The US Senate and Spam

The U.S. Senate voted 97-0 to pass the nation's first federal anti-spam legislation. The bill, sponsored by Senators. Conrad Burns (R-Mont.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), targets the most egregious offenders, including body-enhancement and pornographic spammers, and has the support of many legitimate e-mail marketers.

The bill, which would supercede all state anti-spam legislation, does not allow individuals to file lawsuits against spammers, reserving lawsuits for e-mail providers. The bill also directs the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to investigate developing a federal do-not-spam list, similar to the recently established do-not-call list, though separate Congressional action would be required to force the FTC to implement such a list. Many agree that a do-not-spam list would need to clear a significant number of technical and policy hurdles to be secure and effective. (Washington Post, 10/ 23/03)

I am disappointed. It looks as though even the Senate is frightened of "legitimate" e-mail marketers. Also the bill prevents individuals from taking action. This is one case where a class-action or public interest suit would be most helpful.

Ronald Hilton - 10.25.03