Schumer Increases Pressure for Do Not Spam List

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D.-N.Y.) said Wednesday he will seek to amend the current spam bill pending before the Senate to include requiring the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to create a Do Not Spam list comparable to the FTC’s popular Do Not Call registry.

Schumer has introduced legislation calling for the Do Not Spam list, but it has not had a hearing while a bill known as the Can Spam Act sponsored by Conrad Burns (R.-Mont.) and Ron Wyden (D.-Ore.) was approved by the Senate Commerce Committee on June 19.

The Burns-Wyden legislation requires commercial e-mailers use clear and conspicuous identification that the message is an advertisement or solicitation and that the e-mail contains an opt-out provision.

Under the bill, unsolicited commercial e-mail must contain the valid physical address of the sender. Spammers who use false headers or misleading subject lines could face up to a year in jail and a maximum fine of $1 million.

It does not contain any provision for a Do Not Spam list nor does it allow for individuals to sue spammers violationg the act. Comparable legislation is before the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

Schumer predicted the Burns-Wyden bill could come before the full Senate for a vote as early this week or next week, and he said he would attempt to include his proposal in any final version of the bill.

Schumer’s Do Not Spam list idea has been endorsed by the Christian Coalition, the Coalition Against Unsolicited Commercial E-Mail and Unspam.

To bolster his position for a Do Not Spam list, Schumer unveiled a new survey conducted earlier this month by ePrivacy Group and the Poneman Institute showing 74 percent of consumers want a federal no-spam list to be created.

“The e-mailing public has been at the mercy of spammers for way too long,” Schumer said at a Capital Hill press conference. “This survey confirms that people are screaming out to be empowered with the ability to stop the constant flow of unsolicited e-mails in their in-boxes.”

Schumner said the survey highlights the fact that there is “wide dissatisfaction” among consumers with the current efforts to combat spam, including opt-out proposals.

The survey results show that 37 percent of consumers do not use current opt-out solutions because they are concerned that they will confirm their e-mail address to spammers, are uncertain about whether opt-out will work, or doubt that their opt-out request will be honored.

Almost half of the survey respondents said they would like their opt-out request to be confirmed by a third party.

“The support for a federal no-spam list is strong enough that I don’t think the public is going to be sympathetic to claims that is hard to do,” Schumer said. “Americans want a solution to the spam plague that has teeth. They don’t want a halfway measure that fails to do something.”

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