Senate approves spam bill, goes back to House

The US Senate has approved a national spam bill that would allow fines of up to $US6 million or five-year jail terms for some spammers, but the bill's legislative journey is not over yet.

The Senate, by unanimous consent, approved the House version of the Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing (CAN-SPAM) Act of 2003, but the bill needed to go back to the House for final approval because the Senate version included some technical corrections to the House version, said a spokesperson for Senator Conrad Burns who was a co-sponsor of the Senate CAN-SPAM bill.

The House is expected to schedule a final vote on the bill December 2, after which the bill would go to President Bush to be signed into law. The House voted 392-5 to approve its pumped-up version of CAN-SPAM, which originally passed the Senate in October.

Critics have said CAN-SPAM would allow "legal" spam to continue because it required that email users opt out of receiving commercial email, instead of requiring that spammers receive opt-in permission before sending email. Some critics have also decried the bill authors' decision not to allow individual email users to sue spammers. CAN-SPAM allows Internet service providers to sue spammers and state attorneys general to sue on behalf of users.

This version of CAN-SPAM also includes a provision requiring the US Federal Trade Commission to come back to Congress within six months with recommendations on how to set up a national do-not-spam list, similar to the national do-not-call telemarketing list now in effect in the US.

CAN-SPAM would not eliminate all spam, but it wouldhelp, said Senator Charles Schumer who pushed for the do-not-spam provision.

"If we did nothing, e-mail would be ruined in a few years and nobody would use it," Schumer said. "With this bill, Congress is saying, 'If you're a spammer, you could wind up in the slammer.'"

CAN-SPAM includes a criminal penalty of up to a year in jail for sending commercial email with false or misleading header information, plus criminal penalties, ranging up to five years in prison, for some common spamming practices, including hacking into someone else's computer to send spam, using open relays to send spam that's intended to deceive and registering five or more email accounts using false information and using those accounts to send bulk spam.

The House version of the bill increased penalties from the Senate version, with up to $US250 per spam email and a cap of $US2 million that can be tripled to $US6 million for aggravated violations.

The Senate version allowed fines of up to $US100 per piece of spam sent with misleading header information, with a maximum fine of $US3 million for aggravated cases.

The House bill also applies its requirements on all pieces of commercial email, not just unsolicited commercial email, as required in the Senate bill. Requirements include a valid reply-to address, a valid postal address and accurate headers and subject lines.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Grant Gross

IDG News Service

Comments

Comments are now closed.

Most Popular Reviews

Follow Us

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Shopping.com

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Latest Jobs

Shopping.com

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?