RealTime IT News

Anti-Spam Group Delivers E-Mails to FTC, Congress

A coalition of anti-spam companies and activists Thursday delivered a database of 150,000 unsolicited commercial e-mail messages to Congressman Gary Miller, (R-CA), and the Federal Trade Commission.

Anti-spam activists gathered in Washington, D.C., in an effort to encourage federal action to ban spam and unsolicited e-mail from the Internet and to help the FTC track down and prosecute e-mail scams.

Congressman Miller was on hand to discuss the Can Spam Act, a bill he introduced in June, that is designed to allow Internet service providers to sue spammers for up to $25,000 a day when unsolicited commercial messages sent through their systems.

Miller said that because the bill attacks the economics of spam, it is the key to stopping distribution of unsolicited email through the Internet.

"The Can Spam Act is appealing because it offers a market based solution to spamming," Miller said. "It puts the power to control spam into the hands of the Internet Service Provider and Internet consumers."

The unsolicited e-mail messages were collected from netizen over the past two months at the Spam Recycling Center. The SRC is an anti-spam effort sponsored by ChooseYourMail.com, the Coalition Against Unsolicited Commercial Email, the Forum for Responsible and Ethical Email, and SAFEeps.

Ian Oxman, ChooseYourMail.com president, said they support the Act because consumers should not need to fear that computer viruses being spread through their email or that their children may be lured to a pornographic Web site.

"The spam problem is growing," Oxman said. "Consumers shouldn't have to fear opening their email boxes and that is why we are supporting Rep. Gary Miller's Can Spam Act."

ChooseYourMail's preliminary analysis of the SRC spam database indicates that 30 percent of the unsolicited emails collected promoted pornographic Web sites. Another 30 percent of the e-mails were dubious moneymaking proposals including.

John Mozena, CAUCE co-founder and vice president, said that many money-making schemes promoted spamming as the means to get right on the Internet.

"Not only is spam damaging the Internet infrastructure, but it's clearly a favorite advertising vehicle for sleazy and abusive businesspeople," Mozena said. "It's the new favorite tool of those who abuse and defraud consumers."

Mickey Chandler, FREE president, said that Internet users were fed up with spam and that the federal legislation would retain email users right to privacy.

"The sheer number of unsolicited bulk e-mails deposited with the SRC makes it clear that users are fed up with spam," Chandler said. "Strong and effective anti-spam legislation is the best way to empower these users."

Since it debuted in May, the Spam Recycling Center Web site has offered the general public a way to participate in the fight against spam. The center handles an average of 2,000 reported spam mailings each day.