Microsoft’s ad-backed email service Hotmail, which now claims 18 million users, announced its support for the Smith Bill, which provides for an outright ban on unsolicited commercial email by adding to an already established federal “anti-junk fax” law.
The Smith bill (H.R. 1748), sponsored by Rep. Chris Smith of New Jersey, gives consumers a “private right of action” against spam, which translates into the right of an individual to sue the spammer for $500 for each piece of unsolicited advertising they receive. If the courts find that the alleged spammer “willfully” or “knowingly” violated the law, the damages are then tripled.
The original junk fax law was passed in 1991 and has been upheld and led to judgments against offenders in numerous courts, Hotmail said.
“Hotmail supports this bill and is eager to see it quickly become law,” said Randy Delucchi, director of customer support for Hotmail Corp. “The anti-spam measures proposed in the bill have proven to be effective in deterring unsolicited commercial faxes in the past. Minimizing unwanted electronic junk mail is a serious issue, and the approach of the Smith bill is very promising.”
“We are ecstatic to have Hotmail’s support for the Smith bill,” said Ray Everett-Church, co-founder of the Coalition Against Unsolicited Commercial Email (CAUCE), the non-partisan group leading the lobbying effort for H.R. 1748. “Their pre-eminent position in the email marketplace and their strong anti- spam policies make Hotmail’s support of this bill even more noteworthy.”