Legislative Relief - was Re: Motion for a new POST NSF AUP

I would like to propose that we seek legislative relief from
this ever-increasing problem. I have spoken with counsel and
now understand what is required to support the enactment of
federal legislation to prohibit the misuse of electronic mail
and Usenet news by unprincipled "spammers."

There is already law which prohibits marketing via facsimile and
cellular telephone. My position is that e-mail and Usenet news
are similar vehicles in the sense that there is a measurable
cost on the receiver's end. I believe that this has the
potential of being a high-visibility legal issue, and one that
would be a "vote getter" as it speaks directly to an educated,
active voting constituency.

I plan on pursuing this with Sen. Edward Markey's office, as he
is my local legislative representative and chairs the House
Telecommunications Committee which is responsible for the
facsimile law, as I understand it.

To do this effectively, such an effort would require certain
financial resources to support things like a state by state
search for existing legislative and the creation of new draft

I'll be providing information about this at our booth at
Internet World at the end of the month and would like to see if
there is enough support for this project to sponsor it at the

Please respond to me directly with your thoughts.


  Robert Raisch, Chief Scientist
  The Internet Company
  96 Sherman Street
  Cambridge, MA 021040

  617-547-3300 FAX

How do you propose to deal with off-shore spammers? This isn't an issue
for FAXing because an offshore FAX sender would have to pay
international phone rates, which act as a natural deterent. However an
e-mail message can be as quickly and easily sent from off-shore as it
can be sent from within the U.S.

Legislative solutions will also not address the ease of which someone
can spam using someone else's name, not to mention the ease of routing
the spam through other Internet hosts, including those which are

It is bad enough today that when someone sends spam that appears to be
I receive many complaints from people across the network. If such spam
was against the law, I suspect that I would be visited by law
enforcement agents, who will waste my time while I explain (or prove)
that the spam did in fact not originate from my institution.

Policies (and laws) which are not enforceable are often worse then no
laws at all.