CAUCE Opposes Spam Bill

CAUCE (Coalition Against Unsolicited Commercial E-mail) issued a statement saying that opponents of spam are facing a potentially disastrous legal development in Washington.

The organization said that on May 12, Senators Murkowski and Torricelli offered an amendment to a bill dealing with the long distance industry. This amendment “threatens” to legalize and legitimize the sending of junk email, CAUCE said.

The entire bill–including the new junk email language–was passed by the full Senate and sent to the House of Representatives. Identical language to the Murkowski-Torricelli amendment was introduced late last week by Rep. Billy Tauzin (R-LA), the Chairman of the Telecommunications, Trade and Consumer Protection Subcommittee of the House Commerce Committee.

As currently written, the legislation would permit marketers to send out unlimited quantities of junk email as long as they refrain from putting fake address information in their email, and as long as they have a means of honoring remove requests. The measure reportedly is supported by the Direct Marketing Association. The DMA has said it is working closely with the Federal Trade Commission to enable consumers visiting the new privacy clearinghouse on the FTC’s Web site to remove their names from marketing lists through a hyperlink to The DMA Mail Preference Service and Telephone Preference Service.

CAUCE said, however, that as written, any violations would only be enforceable by the Federal Trade Commission or by ISPs, not users.

CAUCE is urging that users be allowed to enforce the law, that states be allowed to make their own spam laws, and that businesses, ISPs, and domain name holders be allowed to preemptively opt-out their entire domain. CAUCE is an all-volunteer, ad hoc coalition of Internet users, network technology professionals, and Internet Service Provider administrators.

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