December 9, 2003, 12:00 AM

Congress sends Can Spam bill to Bush

Lawmakers have approved a final version of the Can Spam bill and sent it to President Bush for signing into law. It includes fines of up $2 million and directs the Federal Trade Commission to draw up a plan for a “do not spam” registry.

Following passage of the Can Spam bill in each house of Congress in recent weeks, lawmakers have approved a final reconciled version and sent it to President Bush for signing into law. It includes fines of up $2 million and five years in prison and directs the Federal Trade Commission to draw up a plan for a “do not spam” registry similar to the Do Not Call registry that lets consumers block unwanted telemarketing messages.

The final bill includes fines of up to $250 per e-mail spam with a cap of $2 million that can be tripled for aggravated violations. But the cap does not apply in cases where spammers use false or deceptive headers.

The bill requires senders of commercial e-mail to include an opt-out mechanism to let consumers choose not to continue receiving e-mail from particular senders.

Other provisions include:
• a prohibition on false and deceptive “from” and “subject” headers;
• a prohibition on using automatic software programs to harvest e-mail addresses from web sites or to randomly send messages in search of recipients;
• the establishment of a multi-pronged effort by the FTC, state attorneys general and Internet service providers to monitor and catch spammers.

 

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