being considered to fight spam
with all the attention
being given to the spam problem in the media and in the halls of
government, there still is no legislation limiting unsolicited commercial
email. in fact, there still is no working definition of spam, causing
delays in legislative proceedings, and allowing spammers to continue
sending unwanted e-mail.
this seems ironic, in that the president himself receives 15,000
spam messages per day, proving that the white house computer is
just as good a receptacle for spam as anyone's. a recent cbs marketwatch
article noted that the white house recently changed its email system
to avoid receiving annoying emails.
the layers of politics
involved in lawmaking are enough to keep a white house intern warm
in wintertime. the problem is that bipartisan ping-pong is also
holding up the process, and we are all patiently waiting for congress
to decide which bills to pass and which ones to toss out.
the following solutions
addressing the issue of spam are being considered in washington:
legitimate headers email
makes its way from the sender’s machine to your inbox with
electronic labels that track the source and destination. some spammers
list fraudulent source information so that internet service providers
(isps) cannot track them down. certain legislators want to require
that all bulk mailings have legitimate headers, making it easier
to track and shutdown the biggest abusers.
no-spam registration database senator charles e. schumer (d-new
york) is introducing a bill that would fund a registration database
based on the same principle as the do-not-call registration database.
however, some people have made the point that spammers are not credible
organizations and will not abide by any law that makes it illegal
to send spam to people on the list. in fact, this database would
be a target-rich environment for a joint venture between spammers
a bill first introduced in 2001 is now being reintroduced by senators
conrad burns (r-montana) and ron wyden (d-oregon). this bill requires
bulk emailers to provide legitimate return email addresses with
each email so that consumers can reply and request to be removed
from the mailing list. it also will penalize a bulk emailer $10.00
per email if they continue after a recipient chooses to opt-out.
taxing emails a proposal
to add a small tax to each email would be insignificant to the average
day-to-day users, but would definitely force bulk emailers to target
a much smaller audience.
these proposed laws,
however, would apply only to domestic bulk emails. currently there
are no plans in place to stop a spammer from doing business overseas,
and international laws would be difficult to put into place.
considering the law of
supply and demand, the proposed initiatives only effect the supply
side of spamming. as long as there is a demand, someone will find
a way to supply the service. consumers should purchase only from
vendors employing reputable techniques. those who purchase from
spammers should be penalized if the transaction is determined by
the ftc to be spamming.
it is important to note
that even though the direct marketing association (dma) is currently
actively involved in fighting spam, the organization only decided
to jump on the bandwagon after they had to start dealing with a
patchwork of state laws. my guess is that the dma believes a more
uniform and more business-friendly set of regulations would come
from washington than from the
until there is effective
legislation in place to outlaw and/or limit spam, it is up to you
to find the spam-eliminating method that best suits your needs
as seen in hudson valley business journal august