No, this isn't a rant about spam. It's about a misguided anti-spam
bill that puts potentially onerous rules on every ISP in the country.
Sen. Frank Murkowski of Alaska filed a bill earlier this week that's
intended to solve the spam problem. His intentions are clearly good, and
based on his press release, he seems to understand many of the issues,
but his bill is very unfortunate. It says:
* Commercial e-mail must be tagged with "advertisement"
* All ISPs must provide tag filtering on inbound mail
* Commercial e-mail must provide a real return address, and accept remove
requests. They have 48 hours to act on a remove request.
* The FTC can discipline misbehaving ISPs.
* Various penalties for unsigned ads, for ISPs that don't provide
filtering, for spammers who continue to send ads after receiving a remove.
There's a press release and a full copy of the bill on the senator's web site
Seems to me that if this were enacted into law, it'd be bad news for ISPs,
since the volume of spam would increase (since it'd be officially legal) and
ISPs would have to provide filtering on mountains of inbound spam. And, of
course, opt-out lists don't work.
There's a separate bill proposed by Rep. Chris Smith of New Jersey which
extends the junk fax ban to unsolicited commercial e-mail and says nothing
about ISPs. The ISP/C endorses the Smith bill in principle.
People say they've been talking to Murkowski, he's amenable to argument and
will probably revise his bill next week. If you think this bill would affect
your business (he's a pro-business conservative Republican, after all), it's
worth a phone call.
John Levine, email@example.com, Primary Perpetrator of "The Internet for Dummies",
Information Superhighwayman wanna-be, http://iecc.com/johnl, Sewer Commissioner
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