The direct mail industry and spammers around the world are cheering Congress’s
passage of the so-called anti-spam bill:
DMERS CONTENT WITH SPAM BILL
With the specter of California’s anti-spam bill looming, e-mail marketers
breathed a sigh of relief as Congress passed anti-spam legislation that
will override state laws.
The bill does not ban unsolicited commercial e-mail. [DM News print edition]
Repeat: The bill does not ban unsolicited commercial e-mail.
One problem with
it is that there are about 26,000,000 businesses in the US and the bill
gives each and
every one of them permission to send you spam. It is then up to you to
tell them to stop. And the problem with that is that while legitimate businesses
will stop, spammers will use your response
as verification of a valid email address and you get moved to their Gold
List for more spam.
Spammers also love it because it replaces stronger state laws with a much
weaker federal law, and reduces their exposure to lawsuits. It also forces
the law onto states that do not have any anti-spam laws.
Marketers roundly praised
the bill, particularly its pre-emption of more onerous anti-spam
legislation in more than 35 states. California’s
spam law was set to take effect Jan. 1. Marketers feared an avalancheof lawsuits under the California law’s provision for private
the federal law, consumers cannot sue. [DM News print edition]
It was a completely bipartisan sellout:
After an all-night session,
the House voted 392-5 early Nov. 22 to pass a slightly amended
version of the act. The Senate then passed
changed version Nov. 25 that the House is expected to OK
when it returns from Thanksgiving recess Dec. 8 [it did]. The White House
is expected to sign
the measure into law before the end of the year. [DM
News print edition]
It’s another example of how a great name for a bill can entirely mask what
the bill really does (viz. Financial Modernization Act , Internet Tax Nondiscrimination
Act, USA-PATRIOT Act).
Even Forbes magazine ("Capitalist Tool") doesn’t like it: US
Congress makes no progress on spam [Forbes 12/09/2003].
A disturbing part of this is the arrogation of control to the Federal level.
The Feds seem to have been doing this more and more (viz. energy, environmental
issues) since the Republicans gained control of the House, and I don’t see
how this squares with their claim of being for less government.