Spam Bill Passes House Subcommittee

FRAMINGHAM (03/23/2000) - U.S. Congress moved one step closer to slamming advertisers for sending out unsolicited e-mail.

The U.S. House Commerce Subcommittee on Telecommunications, Trade and Consumer Protection passed a bill today requiring spam to be identified as such and allowing individuals to sue spammers, according to a statement.

The bill, called the Spam Unsolicited Electronic Mail Act, also requires and enacts other facets including:

-- Accurate return addresses must be on unsolicited commercial e-mail.

-- Spammers must stop after users request to be removed from the distribution list.

-- E-mail addresses can't be harvested from Internet registrars.

ISPs (Internet service providers) must protect their customers from spam if the service providers profit from allowing spam into their system.

Internet service providers may have a spam policy and sue spammers for US$500 per message if they violate the policy.

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) may go after spammers who violate this law.

The bill is a combined effort from Representatives. Heather Wilson (Republican, New Mexico), Gary Miller (Republican, California) and Gene Green (Republican, Texas). Wilson supported efforts to protect individual Internet customers; Miller backed the portion of the bill that allows Internet service providers to protect their property and customers in court; and Green supported stopping the use of false e-mail addresses and routing information, the subcommittee said.

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