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 e-mail,
The entire bill–including the new junk e-mail 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 e-mail as long as they refrain from putting fake
address information in their e-mail, 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.