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Spam United States Your Rights Online

US House, Senate Agree on Anti-Spam Bill 448

Posted by michael
from the writing-on-the-wall dept.
Folic_Acid writes "Rep. Billy Tauzin, chairman of the House Energy and Commerce committee, has announced that the House and the Senate have reached a deal to both pass an anti-spam bill, the first ever federal anti-spam law in the United States. Specifically, the law contains: opt-out, authority for the FTC to set up a "Do-Not-SPAM" registry, criminal charges for fraudulent spam, including five years in prison, statutory damages of $2 million for violations, tripled to $6 million for intentional violations, unlimited damages for fraud and abuse." News.com has a copy of the bill and a story.
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US House, Senate Agree on Anti-Spam Bill

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  • by corebreech (469871) on Friday November 21, 2003 @04:25PM (#7532029) Journal
    Go to http://thomas.loc.gov [loc.gov] and do a bill search on "anti-spam" and read the Senate version, from which I quote:

    ...the term `unsolicited commercial electronic mail message' does not include an electronic mail message sent by or on behalf of one or more lawful owners of copyright, patent, publicity, or trademark rights to an unauthorized user of protected material notifying such user that the use is unauthorized and requesting that the use be terminated or that permission for such use be obtained from the rights holder or holders.


    Unbelievable.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      We have the best government money can buy!

      ~~~

    • Translated version (Score:3, Insightful)

      by momerath2003 (606823) *
      If anyone wants to hear that in English, it sounds like they're saying that the MPAA- and RIAA- bots don't count as SPAM.

      Too bad.
      • by GreyPoopon (411036) <gpoopon&gmail,com> on Friday November 21, 2003 @04:32PM (#7532115)
        If anyone wants to hear that in English, it sounds like they're saying that the MPAA- and RIAA- bots don't count as SPAM.

        They do if the the intended recipient of the mail is not, indeed, using said protected material unlawfully. Hmmmmmm. This could be VERY interesting the next time they make a mistake on the identity of the alleged pirate.

      • But only if they send messages to actual unauthorized users. Those of us who don't distribute mp3s are still safe. And it'd be against the law to spam us still. ;)
    • by Jammer@CMH (117977) on Friday November 21, 2003 @04:33PM (#7532130)
      If I read that right, it appears to say that an electronic mail message sent by or on behalf of one or more lawful owners of copyright, patent, publicity, or trademark rights to an innocent person is SPAM. Fascinating. What is the RIAA's error rate, and what is the fine for repeated violations?
    • Nonsense (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Mike Hawk (687615)
      Thats a tough one. Generally its not considered unsolicited advertising if you have prior business with the entity. See the Do-Not-Call list. If I have a credit card with a bank, and the banks calls me out of the blue to try to sell me anti-fraud protection, that is legal, and should be. If one is using the material of the copyright, patent, publicity, or trademark rights holder, you have prior business with the entity (business that was initiated by the end user, specifically). Therefore, like Do-Not-
      • Re:Nonsense (Score:5, Insightful)

        by corebreech (469871) on Friday November 21, 2003 @04:50PM (#7532323) Journal
        So hate on haters.

        Wow.

        You're missing the point. The question isn't so much whether their email should be considered spam, as it is the fact that such a provision is front-loaded into legislation that on its face has absolutely nothing to do with copyright issues.

        This is particularly relevant given the past instances of industry involvement in the legislative process, and most especially the DMCA itself, which it has been alleged saw language included at the last moment on behest of the RIAA that was never approved by any member of the House or Senate.

        In other words, it is just another example of corruption of our government by the "entertainment" industry.

        Maybe if these people spent less time choking our freedoms with self-serving laws and spent more time on creating art we wouldn't have to deal with fare such as Matrix: Sucks and Matrix: Really Sucks.
        • Re:Nonsense (Score:3, Insightful)

          by chip rosenthal (74184)
          That's true. But keep in mind that Tauzin is said to be the first choice for head of the MPAA when Jack Valenti retires. It makes sense they've got a direct line into all his technology legislation. Heck, he may have inserted that himself without their prompting.
      • If I have a credit card with a bank, and the banks calls me out of the blue to try to sell me anti-fraud protection, that is legal, and should be.

        Should be? I wouldn't go that far. If you're on the DNC list, no one should be allowed to call you to try to sell you something without prior consent. If they're calling to tell me I'm over my limit, or even that I'm nearly over the limit, that's fine. Calling to try to sell me something isn't. Of course, it really doesn't matter all that much. If someon

        • If they're calling to tell me I'm over my limit, or even that I'm nearly over the limit, that's fine. Calling to try to sell me something isn't.

          I don't want to be called about other stuff. For example, Discover is an awesome company as far as financial institutions go. I did not want to be called about new offers, so I opted out. No more calls since. They respected my decision. We both prosper from this business relationship.

          If someone is going to harrass me like that, I'll just cancel my service wit

    • by unassimilatible (225662) on Friday November 21, 2003 @04:37PM (#7532184) Journal
      DCMA has a safe-harbor provision, which gives infringers an out if they take down the infringing material once notified by the IP owner.

      From keytlaw [keytlaw.com]

      • Digital Millennium Copyright Act Safe Harbor
        The simplest, cheapest and best way a web site owner may protect against liability for copyright infringement resulting from users' uploaded content is to comply with the safe harbor provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Web site owners who comply with the requirements of the DMCA and who take appropriate action after receiving notice of copyright infringement from a copyright owner, will not be liable for money damages for users' uploaded content.
      I think they just wanted to make it consitent with DMCA.

      The closest distance between two points is a tunnel
      - Lyndon Johnson.
    • I would 1.) Rather be notified if I was in violation of someone elses licence/copyright/patent/trademark. I like not getting randomly sued for... say... using a coca-cola logo on my homepage which sells homebrew snowboarding t-shirts. 2.) Would like the ability to notify others if they were violating my intellectual property. Maybe I'm missing something... how is this so different than a "friendly" notice. It's better than a supoena, no? Last time I checked, its not just coorporations that can have IP.
    • Translation - "If we think you stole something from us, we can contact you." I don't think that's unreasonable.
      • The clause is not unreasonable. That they have the power to see it inserted in a bill that has absolutely NO relation to them whatsoever is the problem. This law wouldn't make their actions illegal by any measure WITHOUT that clause being there.

        The big issue today isn't even the actions of these corporations, it's the power and influence they hold. That microsoft illegally abuses it's monopoly is one thing, that microsoft had the power to weasel out of the issue is far far worse. That the RIAA is suing
    • Unbelievable.

      You mean that a message from a wounded party asking the (possibly inadvertant) offender to stop the tort is unbelievable?

      Bah.

      The darn law doesn't mean that an e-mail is now legal service; it means that the RIAA won't have a "we'd get sued" excuse to not try and tell people "please stop that, we see what you're doing" before starting a lawsuit.
    • Dear Common Thief,

      After scanning your network, this is an automated message notifying you that the copyright owner, Meds2U.com, believes you are making unlawful use of one or more copyrighted materials held by said owner. Please cease and desist immediately your unlawful use of these materials, or contact us so that licensing of said materials can be arranged. Under the DMCA, we hereby certify that we act as representatives of Meds2U.com which sells phentermine, Xanax, Viagra, Prozac, Celebrex, and many other prescription medications available at below pharmacy cost to you from http://www.meds2u.com 24 hours a day, 7 days a week!

      Yours truly,

      Dewey, Cheatem, and Howe
      Attorneys at Law

    • by Camel Pilot (78781) on Friday November 21, 2003 @05:03PM (#7532453) Homepage Journal
      Never underestimate the inventivness of spammers and conartists... For example I could envision a legit spam such along the lines of:

      - - - - - - - - - - - -
      Dear Sir no doubt you have been receiving messages on increasing your penis size.

      Let me take this time to inform you that my company Hammer Inc. has a US Trademark and copyright on the term "penis enlargement" and a patent on our exclusive fully herbal penis enlargement treatment plan. All those other companies are violating our establish copyrights and infringing on our patent. We have very strong IP rights in this area let me assure you.

      So therefore let me offer our treatment at an incredible savings, just sign up now and we will give you 30% of list. Your lover will love you for it...

      v/r McBribe CEO Hammer Inc.

    • #include <obIANAL.h>

      Last time I checked, the only way to be sure was to send a registered letter via the USPS. E-Mail is not a very reliable delivery mechanism, certainly not good enough for sending legal notices. I doubt such an E-Mail would hold up in a court of law, should a lawsuit be filed with just E-Mail notifications, so it's kind of pointless to be sending them.

    • Definition [re]

      A couple of notes:
      - Content of a message is not relevent.
      - Significantly, spam is spam if the recipient is irrelevent. RIAA/MPAA's messages would be sent to specific people.

      RIAA/MPAA might be evil bastards, but their not evil bastards because of this....

  • Finally! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jon3k (691256) on Friday November 21, 2003 @04:26PM (#7532036)
    This has been a long time coming, I hope we're actually able to enforce it. Although, its going to be tough with all the world wide spam.

    Is this really just fluff to impress voters? Or do you think it will actually carry any weight?
    • Re:Finally! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by revmoo (652952) <slashdot@@@meep...ws> on Friday November 21, 2003 @04:45PM (#7532274) Homepage Journal
      No, It's a _horrible_ idea. Two things.

      (1.) U.S. Laws only reach as far as U.S. borders. Where does 95% of spam come from?

      (2.) What is to stop spammers(who have previously shown themselves to be willing to break the law and root people's servers to use as relays) from using this Do-not-spam list as a database to spam? I mean, think about it, a nice, large index of completely valid email addresses? This is spammer gold people!
      • Re:Finally! (Score:3, Interesting)

        by masoncooper (443243)
        My question is how would one go about No-Spam listing their entire domain. I'm sure plenty of people here have Catch-All's and it would be impossible to include every iteration.
        The same goes for ISP's. We have all seen Earthlink, Yahoo, even Hotmail include anti-spam methods, could they have their entire domain listed? Should they?
        This raises several other questions, but at least in response to your (2), this would cover all recipients of a domain without giving a single address away.
      • great... wait... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by griffjon (14945) <GriffJon&gmail,com> on Friday November 21, 2003 @05:07PM (#7532500) Homepage Journal
        How is this not an international please-spam-me,-here's-my-favorite-and-most-privat e-email-address list? Even if it prevents US companies from spamming you, it's like a golden list for most spammers in the world.

        And even if they MD5 each address or something not-totally-braindead, it turns into a us spammer hash-checking, finding it on the do-not-spam list, and selling it to a foreign counterpart as a quality address.

      • Re:Finally! (Score:3, Informative)

        by dougmc (70836)
        (1.) U.S. Laws only reach as far as U.S. borders. Where does 95% of spam come from?
        95% of my spam does not come from any one country.

        However, I'd say that at least 60% comes from within the US (and yes, I'm in the US.)

        I don't think legislation is a magic bullet, but it may just help. Certainly, the `do not call' lists have reduced the telemarking phone calls we receive by over 95%.

      • It's worse than that...opt-OUT as the preferred method? Let me just state my opinion officially: "That blows goat".
      • Re:Finally! (Score:3, Insightful)

        by pjrc (134994)
        Where does 95% of spam come from?

        The USA. Well, maybe not exactly 95%, but certainly the vast majority is sent by people in the USA, plugging "products" targeted at US citizens. Spamhaus is currently not responding, otherwise I'd provide a link to the page with their research about the big spammers. They're almost all in the USA.

        The fact that messages originate from open relays in Asia does not change the fact that the people responsible for sending those messages are in the US.

        What is to stop spam

    • by schon (31600) on Friday November 21, 2003 @04:57PM (#7532382)
      This has been a long time coming

      Judging by the text of the bill, not long enough.

      Properly implemented, a law would be a good thing, but this misses on several counts..

      First - it defines spam incorrectly.

      Spam is unsolicited bulk email. This uses the term 'unsolicited commercial electronic mail message' - whether an email is commercial or not is irrelevant as to whether it is spam. Although the majority of spam is commercial in nature, not all of it is, just as not all unsolicited commercial email is spam (as evidenced by their need to include an exemption for copyright infringement notices.)

      Second, the fact that it's opt-out, means that it legalizes spam - it's a pro-spam bill, not an anti-spam bill.

      I haven't finished reading it, but if it overrides state legislation, then it's the worst possible outcome.
    • Re:Finally! (Score:3, Insightful)

      by monkeydo (173558)
      No. This is very, very, bad. I cannot believe that on /. where mistrusting the government is a tautology anyone would think this is a good idea. Do you realy want the government telling you what you can and can't put in an email? This bill will make it a FEDERAL OFFENSE punishable by _years_ in federal POUND ME IN THE ASS prison for registering domain names with fake contact information of they originate UCE. Has anyone here ever heard of a joe-job? Know all I have to do is make sure I find your domai
  • How? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Conspiracy_Of_Doves (236787) on Friday November 21, 2003 @04:26PM (#7532042)
    How can any of them possibly believe that this would do any good?
    • Re:How? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by peezer (682955) <<moc.liamg> <ta> <orrazip>> on Friday November 21, 2003 @04:31PM (#7532106)
      I think that congress (and your average citizen) believes that legislation is the solution to most problems. The SPAM wars will be fought and won with innovative technology, not with legislation. Don't get me wrong, some of the acts spammers engage in should definitely be illegal. But they should be illegal on principled grounds, no on the hope of detterence.
      • Re:How? (Score:3, Informative)

        by pjrc (134994)
        The SPAM wars will be fought and won with innovative technology

        Really? Filters perhaps, but certainly not anything fundamental at the protocol level.

        The simplest and most backwards compatible approaches under consideration are IP-number-based sender authentication. These don't require any significant changes to SMTP/ESMTP, and they can be adopted gradually and interoperate with systems not yet deploying them. SPF [pobox.com] is probably one most likely to be adopted. The basic idea is to provide a mechanism for

    • Re:How? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by TopShelf (92521)
      Effectiveness doesn't matter. What does matter is that these congressmen and senators can now add "fighting to protect your family from the horrors of spam email" to their campaign literature for next fall. For a certain portion of voters (read: the tech-norant), this actually looks like action...

      Hey, I kinda like that word. Tech-norant, as in "tech ignorant."
    • >>How can any of them possibly believe that this would do any good?

      Define "good." If, by "good" you mean "will stop spam" forget it. If good means "giving the pols a talking point for their reelection bid" then perhaps it might help.
  • by handy_vandal (606174) on Friday November 21, 2003 @04:27PM (#7532051) Homepage Journal
    ... unlimited damages for fraud and abuse.

    What the -- unlimited damages ...?!

    Holy crap, get ready for the undead legion of attorneys to rise from the grave!

    -kgj
  • Exactly... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by setzman (541053) <stzman AT stzman ... removeit DOT org> on Friday November 21, 2003 @04:27PM (#7532056) Journal
    How will this be enforced? The global nature of the Internet seems to be unmanagable by a single government.
    • There's no pleasing you... At least this will stop (legit) US businesses from spamming. Remember that the biggest spammers are just selling their "service", not products.
    • Re:Exactly... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by adamfranco (600246)
      I imagine that this will not be "enforced" so much as used as the charge in court when people complain about a spammer.

      If I may provide an example:
      J. Random Person is fed up with spam from the infamous Mr. Rawlsky [slashdot.org]. In order to combat this, J. signs up with the "Do Not Spam" list.

      Several months go by to allow Mr. Ralsky time to get the list and remove addresses from it. However, Mr. Ralsky doesn't remove J.'s email address and J. (after some careful tracking with his anti-spam breathren) forwards his email
  • by GeneralEmergency (240687) on Friday November 21, 2003 @04:28PM (#7532061) Journal


    Aren't those old dudes in the Senate the ones that are buying all that Viagra?

    I thought so.

  • more of the same (Score:5, Informative)

    by mabu (178417) * on Friday November 21, 2003 @04:28PM (#7532063)
    While I applaud the intent, unfortunately this is another totally ineffective anti-spam legislation. There are plenty of laws already on the books making 99.9% of spam illegal, but the problem is the government and related law enforcement agencies do not enforce the existing laws so why would anyone think this is any different? People need to realize that passing a law, and enforcing a law are entirely different. This is like going into a book store and buying a book, but not reading it! I hear next week Tauzin is going to solve the world hunger problem by passing a law making it illegal to throw out leftovers. Hurrah!

    At this point, the only way you can realistically take action against a spammer based on these laws is by printing them out, finding the spammer and then hitting him over the head with the actual laws. Law enforcement agencies and district attorneys have repeatedly demonstrated an apathy towards pursuing and prosecuting spammers. The FBI has a monetary threshold of damages on any case of this nature it even elects to investigate. There are virtually no resources dedicated to enforcing this bill and there are no competent agencies available to even investigate! Please send a message to your political leaders that enforcement and not more laws are key to dealing with this problem.

    The law looks good, but without dedicated provisions and a change in policy which will actually insure that these issues will be enforced, this is just a joke.
    • There are plenty of laws already on the books making 99.9% of spam illegal, but the problem is the government and related law enforcement agencies do not enforce the existing laws so why would anyone think this is any different?

      I would expect that this new law will close many of the loopholes that other laws leave. That will make it much more difficult for someone accused of a criminal offense by spamming to win the court battle that follows.

    • Also, you entirely left out the issue of dealing with spam originating outside of the US. Are we going to build a Great Firewall like China? I think not...
      • I have already thought of this and have the perfect solution, which I posted HERE [slashdot.org] - an officially-sanctioned SMTP relay whitelist. It makes tremendous sense and would also stop the majority of worm/virus propagation on the net as well.
    • Re:more of the same (Score:3, Informative)

      by Eric Savage (28245)
      "...why would anyone think this is any different?"

      Basically because it's a federal law. This means all of the issues of jurisdiction that the state laws face are gone. There are certainly lots of issues left, but having some sort of federal law is a big step IMO.

      (I haven't read this particular law yet, since its 55 pages long)
  • by Loki_1929 (550940) * on Friday November 21, 2003 @04:28PM (#7532072) Journal
    "including five years in [Federal Pound-Me-In-The-Ass] prison"

    Bet someone's going to regret pushing all those penis patches (of grow 3 inches! fame).

  • how long before... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by civilengineer (669209) on Friday November 21, 2003 @04:29PM (#7532075) Homepage Journal
    some state court says that's unconstitutional and lets spammers spam?
    • by Loki_1929 (550940) * on Friday November 21, 2003 @04:38PM (#7532194) Journal
      "how long before some state court says that's unconstitutional and lets spammers spam?"

      Pretty long, seeing as state courts can't rule on a Federal issue. Spam, being 'insterstate commerce' (in a manner of speaking) is most certainly all Federal. I also doubt there are many Federal courts that would consider the question of the bill's constitutionality. You have the right to speak, not to be heard; most certainly not at someone else's expense. If you had the right to be heard by your audience, you could sue deaf people for violating your right to free speech. How absurd is that? Free speech protects you when you're standing on a corner preaching your religious views or publishing a political opposition newspaper. It does not force everyone to stop and listen to you speak, nor force anyone to buy a copy of your newspaper.

      If spammers want to continue to spam legally, they ought to stand on a street corner and hand out fliers to anyone who wants one. Thus, the optimal example of an 'opt-in' system. The way it works now, they're jamming the fliers into your pocket, whether you want them or not, to the point that your pockets explode when you get home. Every time you try to cover your pockets, they find another way to jam another flier into your pants. Activity like that would get you shot in New York, and perhaps worse in L.A.

  • deeply dissapointed (Score:3, Interesting)

    by cluge (114877) on Friday November 21, 2003 @04:29PM (#7532081) Homepage
    A few things that the bill missed

    1. No requirement for opt-in
    2. No jail time only monetary damages
    3. No public stonings

    • You're soft on crime. I was hoping for immolation & castration options. :(
    • 1. No requirement for opt-in

      I think the DO-NOT-SPAM registry pretty much takes care of that.

      2. No jail time only monetary damages

      Not true. Senders of fraudulent SPAM are subject to five years in prison.

      3. No public stonings

      OK well, I guess we'll all have to make a compromise here. Maybe we can get them to introduce public stonings for repeat offenders?

    • Either the article or the summary:

      Makes it a crime, subject to five years in prison, to send fraudulent SPAM

      While of course, fraud is already fraud... this covers in particular spam fraud - which does account for a goodly percentage of total spam.

      I personally don't think that somebody needs to go to jail for spamming, there are cases where spamming is accidental or at very least due to extreme ignorance (see those who hire spammers). Not to mention the spambots hijacking computers... wouldn't want to
  • by deadmongrel (621467) <karthik@poobal.net> on Friday November 21, 2003 @04:31PM (#7532111) Homepage
    The very idea of don't email list is stupid. the only way to fight spam is by attacking their business model. You get spam because some idiot thinks he is getting a good deal for the product that the spammer sells. don't the law makers know that there is a diff between phones and emails? it costs real money to call someone to sell something but it costs almost nothing to send out emails. Also what about security for these Don't-emails-lists(if they are created)? what are they going to do give the spammer a list of email address he shouldn't email? yeah right. I bet the spammers would support this bill.
    • The only way a do-not-spam list will be effective is if it includes whole domains. For example, if AOL could specify that any address in aol.com is to be considered on the do-not-spam list, then the list would be worth something. This would make the list easy to deal with, since you wouldn't need to keep it secret.

      The previous version of the bill didn't specify whether entire domains would be included, but apparently left it to the FCC to decide. Of course, the DMA and their pet congressmen want the bil
      • If that happens, I'm going to give the FCC a very hard time. I'm going to write up a quick program to generate every possible email address (i.e. aaaaaaaaaab@domain.com, aaaaaaaaaac@domain.com, etc), store the results on a 60 GB hard drive (Will that be enough? I have 8 domains to protect, plus one comcast acct) and send the entire thing to the FCC. Better yet, print out the entire thing, and ship it. How many boxes of paper will that be? Hundreds, at least.

        You know, that sounds like a pretty good idea. I
  • Finally.. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by herrvinny (698679) on Friday November 21, 2003 @04:32PM (#7532119)
    Finally, we get an antispam bill. Only this time, it won't be delayed like the nocall list was. What spammer would object to it publicly? If he/she did, they'd be lynched (I'll be the one holding the 10 yr old motherboard; can't use the comp for anything else, so might as well go to a good cause).

    First thing, I'm going and registering all the domains I own, and my comcast account. Then, for good measure, I'm going to see if I can pipe all emails through servers in California.

    One question: does this federal law overrule the Calif law, and if so, is it for better or worse? What's CAUCE's opinion on this?
    • (I'll be the one holding the 10 yr old motherboard; can't use the comp for anything else, so might as well go to a good cause).

      I'm hanging on to my 10 year old MB, it's got ISA slots, which are much easier to work with than PCI for the hobbiest.

      Good god, never get rid of old hardware. Just store it in a box somewhere like your grandma saving old National Geographics. They'll be good for something eventually, I'm sure.

    • Re:Finally.. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Joe Wagner (547696)
      As owner of a business who has taken spammers to court [hypertouch.com] and whose lawfirm defended California's current antispam law in the CA Supreme Court, let me be emphatic: This is a horrible law. It absolutely overides California and all other state laws which is why the DMA is pushing for it so hard. It removes a private right of action for end users. Let's be clear:

      This law makes it legal to send spam in all 50 states.

      The law has many things wrong with it:
      • It removes any and all laws individual states passe
  • by Space cowboy (13680) on Friday November 21, 2003 @04:33PM (#7532126) Journal
    ...reminds me of an NDA from Sony I signed in a previous life. Buried deep in the middle of it was the phrase (from memory)

    "Should PARTNER at any time divulge material covered by this agreement, then financial reparation may not be sufficient"...

    (No, the NDA wasn't under the NDA - do you think I'd be telling you this, if it was ???)

    I never did get clarification on what non-financial reparations would be demanded (first-born son?, ritual dismemberment ?)

    Simon.
  • whose computers are hacked by spammers, who proceed to use that person's e-mail address as a source of spam? Are they gonna make those people pay the $2 million?
  • ...enforcement.

    Make all the laws you want. How can you enforce it, when the spammers are in S.Korea, or in an Eastern Bloc country?

    or:
    "The intarweb worm diddit!!"

  • In spite of the Do Not Call Registry, my phone still rings with sales weasels trying to get me to buy something. For some telemarkets, nothing has changed and the FTC is unable/unwilling to do anything about it. Other telemarketers have changed tactics, their calls are now veiled in the guise of surveys and "charities" but, by the end of the call you are being asked to buy something.

    So what does this new upcoming law offer? I doubt very much that it will change anything. If anything does change, more than
  • by jkujawa (56195) on Friday November 21, 2003 @04:38PM (#7532195) Homepage
    An experiment.

    I'm going to create a new email account, and register it on the "do not spam" registry. It will have a random account name on my own domain.
    I will not use this account for anything else.

    As a control, I will create another random account under the same domain, and not use it anywhere, even on the "do not spam" registry.

    I will measure how long it takes before the first address receives spam, how long before the second receives spam, and the amount of spam each receives.

    Hypothesis: The first account will start receiving spam almost immediately. Due to the nature of the spam, the second should never receive spam unless someone is sending email to random 8-character accounts at my domain (brute force attack).
  • Imagine, if each Internet citizen is sending me one single unsolicited e-mail...

    I should opt out from each of them?

    If it takes 5 seconds to scan a single message, identify it as unwanted, searching for the opt-out link and clicking on it, this would take me 833333 hours, or 190 years (assuming I sit 12 hours a day in front of my pc).

    :-(

  • by mabu (178417) *
    According to statistics from last year, there are more than 27 million registered .com/net/org domain names. If each domain holder paid an additional $2/year for renewal, this would generate more than $50 million for cybercrime enforcement activities. If each domain holder paid $5/year, that would generate more than $1.3 BILLION DOLLARS that could be dedicated towards creating and funding an agency dedicated to actually enforcing all these laws that are currently un-enforced.

    I don't know about anyone els
  • I get more viruses than spam.

    Except, what if the viruses are also spam?
  • A little overbroad (Score:2, Insightful)

    by wizarddc (105860)
    As much as I hate spam, it shouldn't be a criminal offense, and especially should not have a prison sentence. Prisons are for those who are dangerous to society, and spam is just annoying, not dangerous. The unlimited damages part is scary enough, but I don't want my tax money paying for some spammer to get raped bi-weekly.
  • This is going to be abused real soon. While I hate spam, Once this law gets passed the Feds (Read the DOJ) will say that they do not have the ability to monitor what is being passed. At that point, they will push to have unlimited capabilities to monitor anything on the wire to detect spam, not just a "terrorist".
    While I personally think that Ashcroft is abusing his power very badly, I can safely assume that will follow will make Ashcroft look like an angel. Absolute Power Corrupts absolutly.
  • From: MAILER-DAEMON
    To: U.S. Congress
    Subject: undeliverable: user unknown

    The following mail could not be delivered:
    user unknown <joespammer@spammer.com>

    > From: U.S. Congress
    > To: <joespammer@spammer.com>
    > Subject: You are under arrest
    >
    > Attention Joe Spammer,
    > Please be notified that you are hereby under arrest for violating the new US Anti-Spam law.
    > You will be subject to up to 5 years in jail
    > and two million dollars in damage.
    >
    > Seriously yours,
    > The U.
  • "This isn't going to single-handedly rid the world of spam overnight all by itself, ergo there's no point in even trying this."
  • by rossz (67331) <ogre@geek b i k e r.net> on Friday November 21, 2003 @04:51PM (#7532330) Homepage Journal
    Some will argue that it won't help because all the spam comes from China and South Korea. Wrong. A lot comes from those two countries, but the number one source of spam in the world is the U.S.

    Then they'll argue that the spammers will move their mail servers to another country. So what? If the company doing business is still located in the U.S., the anti-spam laws will apply. I already block China and South Korea. I'm damn close to blocking Brazil. If the spammers move, it will be easier to block them.

    Then they'll say the spammers will move their entire business to another country. Hell, that works for me. Maybe they'll move to the next country on the anti-terrorism hit list.

    As for the idiots saying spam is protected by the Constutition. Bzzt! Wrong! Your right to free speech does not extend to breaking into my home to set up your soap box. Your right to free speech does not give you the right to make me pay to listen. Your right to free speech does not continue when I tell you to shut up and get the hell out of my house, nor does it mean you can sneak back in the next day to make me listen yet again.
    • You are 100% correct. If they move all operations overseas, I'll block all foreign IP's, except perhaps Canada, Britain, and a few Western Europe nations. China wants to send me email? Forget it. Start cracking down on spammers as much as the Falun Gong, and then I'll consider it. Hell, if foreign countries are so lax, perhaps someone can buy a server in Indonesia or somewhere and DOS the spamming servers.
  • by Performer Guy (69820) on Friday November 21, 2003 @05:08PM (#7532508)
    This is horribly flawed.

    This list will need to be distributed for spammers to check it for compliance. When it gets distributed it will be explicitly added to all spam lists by illegal spammers and list aggregators. All current and future illegal and foreign spammers (i.e. most of them) will then bombard everyone on the list with more spam.

    As usual they will get away scott free thanks to hijacked servers and IP blocks foreign immunity & the usual shady practices.

    This is unworkable.
    • > This is horribly flawed.
      > This is unworkable

      Please see my previous posting [slashdot.org] on why this is actually very workable.

      There's no reason you can't give a spammer an encrypted list of addresses. All they have to do take one of their addresses, encrypt it, and compare the encrypted address with each address on the Do-Not-Spam list. If they match, then the address must be removed.

      No decryption of the Do-Not-Spam list required.

  • Wow (Score:4, Troll)

    by Tim C (15259) on Friday November 21, 2003 @05:15PM (#7532572)
    Five years in prison, and potentially up to $6 million in damages, all for spamming?

    Now, I appreciate that spam, for a lot of people, is a major problem. I know that as a user, rather than an admin, and a careful one at that, I don't see the true extent of the problem. I get perhaps a couple of dozen spams a week to a single address that I was foolish enough to have in plaintext on a website a couple of years ago. To me, it's no big problem - Mozilla Mail's junk tools catch 95% of them. Still, I'm aware that spam is a serious problem for a lot of people.

    But five years in jail? That seems somewhat excessive to me. I condemn the RIAA's lobbying partly because of the excessive penalties they seek; I cannot, in all conscience, support similar penalties for a crime which, to me at least, doesn't seem a great deal more heinous.
  • by eaolson (153849) on Friday November 21, 2003 @05:30PM (#7532725)
    This is not an anti-spam bill. This is a pro-spam bill. (I'm looking at S.1231 on thomas.loc.gov, and assuming that's the latest version.)

    It seems like the meat of this bill is in this clause:

    ... it shall be unlawful for any person to initiate the transmission of any UCE to a protected computer unless the message provides clear and conspicuous identification that the message is an advertisement or solicitation, by providing, as the first characters in the subject line, `ADV:'.
    So, basically, spam all you want as long as the recipient isn't on the do-not-spam list, and as long as the spam is labeled. Point-by-point for today's news release:
    1. Empowers American consumers with the right to opt-out of all unwanted and unsolicited commercial e-mail or SPAM.

      The bill is opt-out. Enough said.

    2. Provides the FTC with the authority to set up a "Do-Not-SPAM" registry based on Chairman Tauzin's work on the "Do-Not-Call" registry for unwanted and unsolicited telemarketing telephone calls.

      Won't work, for many reasons that have been copiously explained elsewhere. Primarily, great, give the spammers a list of valid email addresses.

    3. Grants the strongest available protection for parents and consumers to say "no" to the receipt of pornographic SPAM.

      The pornifity of the email is irrelevant. Spam is spam. Again, you have to say "no," possibly thousands or tens of thousands of times. Opt-out.

    4. Makes it a crime, subject to five years in prison, to send fraudulent SPAM.

      But non-fraudulent spam is ok? I thought fraud, whatever the medium, was already illegal.

    5. Allows the FTC and state attorneys general the ability to vigorously enforce the laws contained in the anti-SPAM legislation.

      I just don't see the point of a law where enforcement is not permitted.

    6. Enforces statutory damages of $2 million for violations, tripled to $6 million for intentional violations, and unlimited damages for fraud and abuse.

      Spam is abuse of the email system. Who can sue for these statutory damages? The ISP, the recipient, the states?

  • by alehmann (50545) on Friday November 21, 2003 @06:29PM (#7533159) Homepage
    Much of the spam we get comes from mailing lists. This kind of scheme would require every list admin to submit all their mailing list addresses to some stupid opt out lists. There are many examples of this not being practical, such as the Debian bug tracking system which has a different email address of each bug (and there are over 200k). FWIW, it does receive spams that clutter up bug audit trails and are extremely annoying. Being allowed to spam should not be the default.
  • #1 (Score:3, Interesting)

    by krray (605395) * on Friday November 21, 2003 @10:37PM (#7534336)
    #1 -- I will not "OPT-OUT". Ever. I have, on occasion, will decide to OPT-IN. Those thinking OPT-OUT are blocked on the first (#1) violation. No questions asked and only a personal phone call, if you know me, will I allow further such traffic.

    Just as I refuse/block UNAVAILABLE calls and judiciously decide what profanity of choice to use on PRIVATE callers.

    With _any_ OPT-OUT type of choice shortly I'll simply white-list a very few and block everybody else. Email is pretty much dead already anyway. How many hundreds of thousands, if not millions of business' are there in the US alone? For next to nothing they'll all be spamming me -- no thanks. :)

    I guess this means I won't be getting funds transfered to my bank account from Africa. Darn.
  • by sik puppy (136743) on Saturday November 22, 2003 @12:51AM (#7534910)
    I'm sure I'm not the only one who would end almost all US based spam given one document - a signed pardon.

    just visit various spammers, liquidate them, no consequences.

    Hell, I'd even make a very large campaign contribution to Bush for that piece of paper, and I can't stand the man.

  • by kaltkalt (620110) on Saturday November 22, 2003 @01:13AM (#7535013)
    add "sending of unsolicited commercial email" to the already insanely loose definition of "terrorism" in the Patriot Act and let ashcroft lock up all the spammers with no due process.
  • by Animats (122034) on Saturday November 22, 2003 @02:58AM (#7535257) Homepage
    This bill (referred to S.877, even by the Clerk of the House) hasn't actually passed the House yet. The House is still in session, at 2:30 AM. There was a voice vote, but it wasn't decisive, and a roll call vote was scheduled. To save time, all the roll call votes today will be run at the end of the "day". The roll call vote is on the calendar, but it hasn't happened yet. At this moment, the House is voting on whether to recommit the Medicare prescription drug benefit bill back to committee.

    This bill could still die. Call your Congressional office. [house.gov] The staff is still there, very tired, and answering the phone.

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