In the last few months we have seen legislation like the CDA go thru the
judicial filter and be rejected. Today I read the articles on various
Anti-Spam laws that are being set into place. (see below) My question is
this. How long before the current round of PUSH tech and the current trend
of Marketing Data being extracted from web pages come under the serious
guns of the legislators, and what will the possible impacts be on the free
flow fo information. Can there be a balance on the need for the free flow
and the demands of perosanl privacy?
(yea, its a pretty loaded question, but I d rather hear more about it now
than when its too late)
Antispammers slam first spam law
By Stephanie Miles
July 9, 1997, 6:40 p.m. PT update
The Nevada state legislature has signed the first law of the land on spam,
or unsolicited junk email. Sponsored by state Senator William Raggio, who
is also the Republican majority leader, the spam bill was introduced last
January and overwhelmingly approved.
The law requires that mass emailers offer a procedure for recipients to
remove themselves from mailing lists and that senders use their correct
business names, but it imposes no penalty for spammers who fail to comply.
Antispam activists feel that because of the Direct Marketing
Organization's (DMA) lobbying efforts, the legislation has been
David Kramer, an attorney for Wilson Sonsini Goodrich and Rosati, who has
represented Internet providers in suits against notorious spammer Cyber
Promotions and helped to draft the original version of the bill, was
disappointed by the law that was signed.
"The law is worse than if there was no legislation whatsoever," Kramer
said. "It legitimizes the practice...that undermines the very value that
is inherent in email."
Ray Everett-Church, a lobbyist for the Coalition Against Unsolicited
Commercial Email (CAUCE), also feels strongly that the final version of
the bill was more for, than against, spam. Although CAUCE has lobbied
behind other legislative efforts to stop spam, it has come out against
"Just before the final passage through the state assembly, the DMA got a
hold of it and lobbied to create a very low threshold for legitimizing
junk email," Everett-Church said today.
Everett-Church, Kramer, and antispam advocates are worried that the law
does nothing to prevent mass emailers from demanding payment to take names
off mailing lists.
Because the Nevada legislature is currently not in session, Raggio was
unavailable to comment.
Nationally, two bills have been introduced attempting to reduce junk
email. Rep. Chris Smith (R-New Jersey) has sponsored legislation expanding
the scope of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991. That law,
which currently prohibits unsolicited commercial faxes, would be extended
to cover junk email.
Sen. Frank Murkowski (R-Alaska) has also introduced the Unsolicited
Commercial Electronic Mail Choice Act, which would not prohibit spam but
would require senders to label emails as advertisements.