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Tough SPAM law?
How futile will this be?

 12:33 am on Nov 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

Just saw this and thought it might be of interest:


Sorry, didn't know how to create a clean link.

I also hope this is the right forum, if not, please move.




 8:14 am on Nov 23, 2003 (gmt 0)

The Bill actually passed the House by a vote of 392-5 at dawn on Saturday (Nov 22) but now the Senate needs to OK the changes that the House created. Under this Bill:

1. Federal Trade Commission would set up a "Do Not Spam" registry
2. Businesses could send UCE to anyone until they are asked to stop
3. Penalties include millions in fines and up to 5 years in jail
4. Individuals could not sue spammers

This may sound good to Joe Citizen, but I can't see how it will be practical, enforceable, or make a difference in the way my Inbox looks every morning. Most spam's origins are not going to be tracked down easily, and in many cases it does not originate within the US.


 9:25 am on Nov 23, 2003 (gmt 0)

In the end, it takes so much effort to trace the real culprit and try to pursue him that I would bet 99.99% of all user wouldn't bother to do so.
Either they just delete the SPAM - or log off the net for good.

Nowadays, most Spammers seem to use spoofed sender information. I received a number of "undeliverable" mails "back" lately that seemingly originated from non-existent addresses on my domains.
Looking at the full headers, it was clear that the mail came from another server.

So, someone just used the domain name, attached a random user name to it and used this as the sender.

Let's hope that, if some people really decide to go after spammers, they actually possess the necessary knowledge to distinguish between the sender addy and the real spammer.
Otherwise, it would be easy to harm your competition by sending such messages in their name.



 10:25 am on Nov 23, 2003 (gmt 0)

2. Businesses could send UCE to anyone until they are asked to stop

Ah, shucks - you mean all I need to do is reply (to their invalid return address) with a note stating I'd like them to stop spamming me... and do that three hundred or so times a day?

In the spirit of sheer speculation, if the Feds only investigated the spam reported by WebmasterWorld members, they'd need to employ a staff of hundreds working 24/7. Where does that leave the rest of the world?

Another plan poorly executed, leaving the public with the same burden as before.


 11:05 am on Nov 23, 2003 (gmt 0)

This doesn't sound good at all for Joe Citizen. They might as well not pass anything. If individuals cannot sue, then who will enforce this? Our government? No way, they don't have the manpower to go after all the spammers. The ISPs? Maybe the larger ones will go after a fraction of them. The others don't have the resources or time to track down those who hide their identities which most do. By giving businesses a green light, they will start spamming us too. No wonder Yahoo has dusted off their marketing plans to bombard users with email and regular mail about their services.

BTW, most spam does indeed originate in the US. They either hire foreigners or have it routed thru servers in other countries to conceal their tracks. Florida is a big haven for spammers.


 4:18 pm on Nov 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

Agreed that there's no way to enforce this. I'm a Canadian that does the bulk of my business in the U.S. in the financial services arena - and we've all received financial services spam. I've got my own feed in a country where spam isn't illegal and my agreement with my provider doesn't mention spam (because it's not illegal). So I could easily have quite a little business going by selling spam services to my customers, directed at U.S. consumers. I certainly don't do this, but there's nothing stopping someone in my position from doing this as a legitimate (i.e. legal) business. But it does serve to illustrate that this measure is likely to be ineffective.

If someone wants to set up a spam business directed at US consumers, there are legal and easy ways to do so, this bill notwithstanding.

cyril kearney

 4:19 pm on Nov 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

BlueSky says:
"If individuals cannot sue, then who will enforce this? Our government? No way, they don't have the manpower to go after all the spammers."

Spammers have an Achilles Heel and it is the only way to go after them. They can only exist as long as Credit Card companies allow payments to be made through them. All Credit Card companies in the US are Federally regulated. Just as regulators go after Terrorist and Drug Dealers they must go after the spammers. The laws against using banks as part of a fraud already exist. Only the will to enforce them is missing.

The Credit Card companies are a powerful lobby and major spammers, that is why politicans are much more willing to pass meaningless bills. The laws won't stop the big bad guys but will stop the local merchant from looking for new business in his area,


 4:51 pm on Nov 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

The federal bill also supercedes tougher state bills. The one in CA set to go into effect in January, for example, requires opt-in and allows individuals to sue. Those provisions will die with the Federal bill.

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