Senate Passes E-Mail Spam Bill


The U.S. Senate wants to do for unwanted commercial E-mails what the do-not-call-list did to unwanted telemarketing calls. By a 97-0 vote, the “Can Spam” bill passed the U.S. Senate on Wednesday, which would prohibit senders of unsolicited commercial e-mail from disguising their identity by using a false return address or misleading subject line.

A similar bill is stalled in the House, though the White House has indicated it will support the legislation if it reaches President Bush’s desk. The bill, sponsored by Sens. Conrad Burns, R-Mont., and Ron Wyden, D-Ore., would also authorize the Federal Trade Commission to establish a do-not-spam list, similar to the agency’s popular do-not-call list of telephone numbers that marketers are not supposed to call.
“Kingpin spammers who send out E-mail by the millions are threatening to drown the Internet in a sea of trash, and the American people want it stopped,” Wyden told MSNBC. The bill also requires commercial E-mail senders to include their physical address, along with a clear notice that the message is an advertisement or sales pitch.

The Direct Marketing Association opposed the provision of the bill concerning a do-not-spam list and has described it as “a bad idea that is never going to work.”

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