'Can Spam Act': Good for AOL, bad for you
Written by Karl Bode
The Can-Spam Act of 2003 could have caged the spam beast, but instead gives America's 23 million businesses the green light to spam you - legally. Last week Senator Billy Tauzin celebrated the legislation, acting as if the bill would be an end to junk-flooded inboxes across America. After pulling an all-nighter Friday evening, the House voted Saturday morning 392-5 to pass the amended bill. Congress is expected to vote (and pass) on the legislation, and President Bush should have it enacted by year's end.
Phrases such as "Evil" and "useless" are being flung about by critics, who note the bill will make tougher anti-spam legislation in over 35 different states un-enforceable. Anti-Spam group Spamhaus suggests the bill simply legalizes spam, making it ok for 23 million U.S. businesses to bombard you with marketing provided they offer you some way to opt-out, and don't hide behind anonymous headers and misleading subject lines.
While the majority of anti-spam groups call the legislation laughable, marketers and the mega-corporations are over-joyed. Microsoft chairman Bill Gates called the legislation "a milestone in the battle against spam." AOL released a statement saying the law "will be a significant weapon for the online industry in the ongoing fight to can the spam and thwart the spam kingpins."
These companies are pleased that tougher state-level legislation won't prevent them (and their "trusted partners") from turning your inbox into a parade of "legitimate" sales pitches (California's tough SB 186 would have gone into effect January 1). Their lobbyists have managed to convince legislators that spam is ok, provided it comes from a corporation, most of whom already adhere to the standards set forth by the bill. Provided they bury the ability to opt-out forty pages deep in a sub-menu, they'll soon be free to spam the hell out of you and yours.
Those "Spam Kingpins" AOL claims will be thwarted - hide behind relays in countries half a world away, and won't be affected by the legislation one way or the other. "What happens to the guy in the Ukraine or Kazahkstan who send spam to us?" asks Villanova professor James Maule over at Declan McCullagh's mailing list. "Gonna send in the troops to get him?"
While Congress and corporations want you to believe they've concocted a potion to cure your spam woes, they've actually doomed you to years of having to opt-out from millions of new corporations who've now been given the green light to spam - legally. While they had an opportunity to actually take a stand against spam, your representatives have again folded to special interests and drafted legislation that will likely serve to make the spam tidal wave forty feet taller.
Those interested can find a pdf copy of the final legislation over at CNET.
Well ... yeah.
Originally Posted By Airwolf: [url]http://www.dslreports.com/shownews/35967[/url]"What happens to the guy in the Ukraine or Kazahkstan who send spam to us?" asks Villanova professor James Maule over at Declan McCullagh's mailing list. "Gonna send in the troops to get him?"