Lautenberg against spam

My senator wrote back to me today (via email) about how he’s co-sponsoring federal anti-spam legislation:

Dear Mr. Sonko,

Thank you for contacting me about spam. I appreciate hearing from you on this issue.

The growth of the Internet and the increased use of e-mail have led to the emergence of “spam,” or electronic junk mail. Numerous marketers have begun to send unsolicited commercial e-mail (UCE) over the Internet. Because this marketing technique is easier and less costly than traditional direct marketing techniques such as direct mail solicitations, e-mail accounts worldwide have been deluged with this unsolicited correspondence.

Spam is not just a nuisance, but it can also bring consumers higher charges for the Internet as service providers are forced to continually upgrade their systems to handle the increased traffic. Spam filters built into MSN and Hotmail servers, for example, block 2.4 billion messages a day. While proponents of UCE insist it is a legitimate marketing technique that is protected by the First Amendment, Congress should enact reasonable restrictions.

Although 35 States have anti-spam laws, there is no federal law specifically concerning spam. Consequently, I have co-sponsored CAN-SPAM, the “Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act” (S. 877), which would do the following: create criminal penalties for the transmission with knowledge and intent of spam messages with header information that is materially false or misleading; prohibit deceptive subject headings; require a functioning return address for the message recipient to submit a request that he or she not receive future messages; require clear identification that a message is an advertisement; and require that message recipients have an opportunity to opt-out, and for the sender to provide a valid physical mail address.

Please be assured that I will continue to support practical, sensible regulations that reduce unwanted spam while taking the concerns of legitimate, honest retailers into account.

Thanks again for contacting me.

Senator Frank Lautenberg

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