State Senator Glenn Coffee has won approval from the governor on a bill aimed at unsolicited commercial Emails, also known as spam. Senate Bill 0 was signed into law by Governor Brad Henry on Tuesday.
This is really a consumer protection measure. The Internet has created a new way of staying in touch and sharing important information. Unfortunately, having your inbox filled with dozens of unwanted sales ads has turned this convenience into a headache for many users, explained Senator Coffee, ROKC.
SB 0 makes it illegal to put false or misleading information in the subject line or to use a third partys Internet address or domain name without their consent for the purpose of making it look like the Email came from a third party. It also would require the sender to include a working return Email address or tollfree phone number so that individuals could request that they not receive any further spam from that company or individual.
Another problem were seeing now is not just the junk Emails for credit cards or loans, but ads containing some very explicit sexual material. Even children get these sent to them. Unfortunately, you may not realize it until after youve actually opened the Email. Thats something weve addressed with SB 0, said Coffee.
The measure has a component requiring that any unsolicited Email containing sexually explicit material or advertising sexually explicit goods or services must include the letters ADVADULT: as the first ten characters in the subject line.
Other commercial Email for other unsolicited products or services would be required to use the characters ADV: at the beginning of the subject line.
In addition to making these violations a misdemeanor offense, weve also allowed for recovery of court costs and damages for anyone injured as a result of those violations. For example, lets say someone sends out an Email that makes it look as though it is from another companys domain, and that Email damages that companys reputation or results in lower profits. This law would allow them to seek damages, explained Coffee. The damages could be as high as 2,000 per day.
The measure would exclude Emails between individuals or between those with previous business relationships. No charges or damages could be sought against the Email service provider under the bill.
Like I said, I really see this as a consumer protection bill, much like the nocall registry created under the telemarketing law we passed last year. Email is supposed to improve communications, not turn it into a hassle because of spam, said Coffee.
The new law takes effect on November , 2003.