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Tag: Senate

California Wins Legal Case Against Spammers

Posted by geeknews at 5:01 AM on October 26, 2003

Two LA spammers were ordered to pay $2 million and received various business restrictions in Santa Clara County Superior Court, this past Friday. This is the largest judgment won by government prosecutors against senders of unsolicited e-mail. The spammers are also the object of a Federal Trade Commission suit; however, both legal cases are civil suits, so there’s not much chance that the spammers will see the inside of a jail cell anytime soon.

Since 1999, almost three-quarters of states have passed anti-spam laws, but prosecutors have brought only a handful of lawsuits; success in the legal system often requires integrating case law (past judgments), and until more criminal suits are won this catch-22 will continue. Rather than pursue criminal penalties, ISPs and frustrated individuals have been using the courts by filing suit using various laws such as consumer fraud and trespass.

Dave’s Opinion
The U.S. Senate unanimously approved an anti-spam bill this past Wednesday: the first federal legislation to tackle spam. The Sentate bill requires bulk e-mailers to indicate a valid return address, disclose that the content is advertising, and give consumers valid and working opt-out mechanisms. In addition, the bill bans the use of addresses obtained from automated mechanisms, such as web-crawling and e-mail harvesting.

Senate bill S.877, CAN-SPAM Act of 2003, also directs the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) to come up with a plan for a do-not-spam registry, similar to the do-not-call telemarketing registry.

The U.S. House of Representatives is considering competing anti-spam legislation, and may have a more difficult time reaching agreement; however, I’m holding out hope for a valid and reliable do-not-spam registry by 2005.

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

References
S.877 CAN-SPAM Act of 2003

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