Lawmakers Draw Up Tough New Bill in US War on Spam

18 June 2003

US lawmakers are getting tough in the latest legislation for cracking down on spam emails.

Representatives Heather A Wilson (Republican, New Mexico) and Gene Green (Democrat, Texas) are expected to introduce a new bill this week after deciding that the host of legislation currently passing through Congress is inadequate.

The Wilson/Green proposals follow a bill from representatives W J Tauzin and F James Sensenbrenner Jr, one from senators Conrad Burns and Ron Wyden, and another from senator Charles E Schumer [WAMN: 29-Apr-03].

However, Wilson and Green believe these bills do not go far enough. In particular, the Tauzin/Sensenbrenner offering was criticised by anti-spam groups after it emerged that representatives of marketers, retailers and ISPs contributed to it.

The new bill is different as it labels all unwanted commercial email as spam, whereas the others have more specifically cracked down on messages promoting fraudulent or adult services. Marketing bodies are adamant that legitimate marketers should not be penalised.

According to a draft of the Wilson/Green proposals seen by the Washington Post, the bill would introduce strict limits on marketers, new powers for federal and state authorities and a clampdown on pornography.

• Separately, Microsoft announced Tuesday it has launched fifteen lawsuits against senders of spam emails.

The software giant claims the suits – thirteen in the US and two in the UK – target fifteen of the world’s leading spammers.

Data sourced from: Washington Post Online; additional content by WARC staff