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Don’t Spam in California

Posted by geeknews at 7:19 PM on September 24, 2003

California Governor Gray Davis must be bucking for the Geek vote in the October 7th special election in which he could be recalled from office. Today he stood tough and signed an antispam law that prohibits anyone from sending unsolicted commmercial e-mail (UCE, aka spam) to a California e-mail address.

Requiring subscribers have opt-in (yes, opt-in, not opt-out) control over which junk mail they want to receive, the law will help prevent e-mail users from being bombarded with unwanted e-mail messages. Offenders are liable for damages up to $1 thousand for each message sent to an individual and up to a whopping $1 million for each advertisement campaign. The law grants the right to seek damages to the recipient, the state attorney general and the e-mail service provider.

The law has additional provisions that make it illegal to collect e-mail addresses for the purpose of sending spam.

Dave’s Opinion
Hoo-whee! This is the way to write an anti-spam law. Make just about everything about junk e-mail illegal. Way to go, Gray!

Call for Comments
What do you think? Leave your comments below.

References
California SB 186

One Comment

  1. From Mike Masnick at 9:02 pm on September 24, 2003

    I wouldn’t get so excited… I actually think it’s a DREADFUL way to write an anti-spam law. I am a VERY anti-spam person who would love nothing less to than to see all spammers marooned on a desert island somewhere. However, this bill basically kills almost all email.

    For example, let’s say I email you to say “check out my site, Techdirt, which you folks at Geek News Central might like.” I’ve just violated the law and you could take me to court. It would be unsolicited – you certainly didn’t ask for it. It was commercial in nature, as Techdirt is a commercial site with a business behind it. And it was email.

    According to the law, whamo, I’m now a spammer.

    That’s is NOT the right way to write an anti-spam law. It simply goes too far and there are going to be some ridiculous test cases if it ever actually goes into effect.