LEGISLATIVE EFFORTS TO FIGHT SPAM ON THE HORIZON

New York City email users received approximately 8.25 million junk emails each day in 2002 or over 3 billion in that year, according to a report published by United States Senator Charles E. Schumer. Senator Schumer addressing the Federal Trade Commission’s forum on “spam” reportedly stated his intention to introduce legislation to fight spam. The legislation is to address commercial email and include, among others, provisions regarding: (i) establishment of a “No Spam” registry patterned after the FTC’s Do-Not-Call Registry, (ii) identification of the email as an advertisement, (iii) inclusion in the email of a valid “unsubscribe” address, (iv) collections of email addresses and (v) tough civil and criminal penalties. The Schumer legislation when introduced will join other bills pending in the Senate, each seeking to address commercial spam emails. These include S.B. 563, the “Computer Owners’ Bill of Rights,” which includes establishment of a federal Do-Not-Email registry, and S.B. 877, which is addressed to the regulation of unsolicited commercial email. These federal legislative initiatives, if enacted, will join numerous state statutes addressing many of the same issues.

Judy Scheiderer and Margaret Stolar