INDUSTRY NEWS ABOUT GANGING UP ON SPAM
Yesterday, an international consortium of politicians and industry
officials called for new global laws to block the flow of spam -
unsolicited e-mails that clog computer in-boxes. Lawmakers in Europe,
the U.S. and Australia are drafting laws that would criminalize the delivery
of unwanted bulk e-mails, which threaten to destabilize the world's
computer networks. Officials warn that without international
cooperation, spammers will continue to send mass e-mails including scams for cash and
offers ranging from university diplomas to septic tanks.
Spam now accounts for nearly half of all global e-mail circulating the
Internet, and shows no signs of going away. Lawmakers agree that new
laws should act as a deterrent to spammers but should not eliminate
legitimate marketing. They disagree, however, about whether the "opt-in" or
"opt-out" method is best for computer users to choose their marketers.
The opt-in route, now required by the European Union, requires all
e-mail marketers to get the user's consent before sending e-mail. But current
U.S. proposals carry a more advertiser-friendly "opt-out" mechanism.
The U.S. law is going to be the key," says Steve Linford, founder of the
UK-based Spamhaus Project, a non-profit group that tracks and identifies
the world's biggest spammers. "Spammers are cheering the opt-out
legislation. It legalizes the status quo."