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Agreement on Historic Anti-SPAM Bill Announced


November 21, 2003
Friday - 1:00 am

Following months of intensive negotiations, House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Billy Tauzin (R-LA) today announced an agreement on historic legislation that will allow millions of Americans the ability to block unwanted and unsolicited commercial e-mail.

"For the first time during the Internet-era, American consumers will have the ability to say no to SPAM. What's more, parents will be able to breath easier knowing that they have the ability to prevent pornographic SPAM from reaching defenseless, unsuspecting children," said Chairman Tauzin. "Although the Internet has given us abilities beyond our wildest dreams, it has also produced endless headaches with all of the crippling congestion SPAM causes to computers every day throughout this country. Today's agreement could end all of that nonsense and bring peace of mind back to everyone who sends and receives e-mail."

Specifically, the anti-SPAM agreement:

  • Empowers American consumers with the right to opt-out of all unwanted and unsolicited commercial e-mail or SPAM.
  • Provides the FTC with the authority to set up a "Do-Not-SPAM" registry similar to the "Do-Not-Call" registry for unwanted and unsolicited telemarketing telephone calls.
  • Grants the strongest available protection for parents and consumers to say "no" to the receipt of pornographic SPAM.
  • Makes it a crime, subject to five years in prison, to send fraudulent SPAM - the legislation would make it a crime for e-mail marketers to mask identities by falsifying their return addresses.
  • Allows the FTC and state attorneys general the ability to vigorously enforce the laws contained in the anti-SPAM legislation.
  • Stiffens an anti-span bill approved by the U.S. Senate in October. The compromised version would double the largest fines against spammers from statutory damages of $1 million to $2 million, tripled to $6 million for intentional violations, and unlimited damages for fraud and abuse. Also removed is a loophole that would have allowed marketers to dodge key provisions of the bill where they claim to have existing relationships with consumers.

Assisting Chairman Tauzin in reaching a sweeping anti-SPAM agreement were House Judiciary Committee Chairman James Sensenbrenner (R-WI), Energy and Commerce Committee ranking member John Dingell (D-MI), Senator John McCain (R-AZ), Senator Conrad Burns (R-MT), Senator Ernest Hollings (D-SC), Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), Rep. Richard Burr (R-NC) and Rep. Heather Wilson (R-NM).

The anti-SPAM agreement could be considered by the House as early as today.



Source of News:

The House Committee on Energy & Commerce
Web Site


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