4 Jan

On Wednesday, October 22, 2003, the Senate passed the CAN-SPAM ACT of 2003, full titled the CONTROLLING THE ASSAULT OF NON-SOLICITED PORNOGRAPHY AND MARKETING ACT OF 2003, by a vote of 97 to 0.

A low-cost luncheon meat has become the word to describe unsolicited nuisance messages sent into computers. Spam, unwanted emails slowing down American commerce may become the “virtual death of the Internet” fears Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.). Spammers are virtually” raping American entrepreneurial profits forcing employees to wade through unsolicited e-mails, forcing repeated updates of servers and software in vain attempts to avoid spam, worms and viruses. The enormous cost of spam on the American economy, escalated upwards of $10 billion, in 2003, is “threatening to drown the Internet in a sea of trash” said, Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) The negligible cost and wide reach of spam places millions of people, especially senior citizens, at risk from criminal operations. Computer users are being flagged in their ‘virtual homes’ by spam, taking them to gambling sites, dating site, porn sites, by new best friends they will never meet and probably wouldn’t want to explore, with or without their families. The Senate was spurred by spammers, pumping up their volume of anonymous messages from anywhere, to overwhelmingly pass the internet version, of the Do-Not-Call list, the Can-Spam Act.

Co-sponsors of the Act, Wyden and Senator Conrad Burns (R-Mont.) enforcement by the FTC, the Justice Department, State attorney generals, Internet Service Providers and others, is going to be the key to making this legislation work. Wyden and Burns worked 4 years crafting their “come down hard” with “hobnail boots” legislation, utilizing the RICO statute, criminalizing spammers, said Senator Bill Nelson (D-Fl.) civil suits for injured parties and allowing for seizure of spammers’ assets, some of whom work offshore safe from Federal Prosecution, sending fraudulent e-mail, e-mail with inaccurate routing information, and e-mail that failing to include opt-out. Wyden proposed sexually explicit emails contain firewall opening pages allowing users to opt out of spam e-mail lists, users could “click” to view the content if they wished. He did not say how children would be prevented from clicking there, too. 

Senator Jon Corzine (D-N.J.) proposed using Professor Lawrence Lessig, of Stanford Law School, the FTC e-ward e-bounty hunters for hunting down these law-violating spammers. Yahoo! said “more than 3 out of 4 people surveyed by Yahoo! Mail said it was “less aggravating to clean a toilet” than to sort through spam.“ Yahoo! admitted the difficulty in finding spammers concealed fraudulently, thereby holding website owners accountable is a must. Yahoo! did not propose penalties the FTC should use to pursue Internet service providers for hosting the immoral sites.

Senator Leahy, (D-Vt.) expressed concern the Can-Spam Act will restrict Spammer’s right to commercial speech. Leahy said, “I fear the amendment has been drafted in haste and raises significant constitutional issues that require further analysis.” 


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