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Consumers' groups, politicians and other decision-makers in Britain and Europe still dithering about their policy on unsolicited email should take heart.

Those Net savvy people in the US are still persevering with their bid to crack down on spam despite a number of legal setbacks

Yesterday, the House of Representatives' Commerce Committee gave the thumbs up to a bill that would limit spam, wrenching power away from the direct marketeers handing it back to consumers instead.

If passed, the bill would require each spam to have a genuine and valid reply, instead of the usual gutless anonymous rubbish currently invading inboxes.

It would also require that all junk email be labelled as spam so that Net users would know exactly what they were dealing with beforehand.

Although it would favour an opt-out system - giving consumers the power to force direct marketeers to remove them from their spam lists if requested - the bill would also give ISPs the right to refuse to handle spam for all their consumers.

Joe McNamee of the Internet industry trade body, EuroISPA, said: "This bill is quite strict on spam.

"Anything that puts power in the hands of the consumer and the ISPs is good news for the Internet," he said.

Earlier this month The Register revealed that that the European consumers group, BEUC, and Britain's Consumers' Association did not have a policy on spam, despite professing to be champions of consumers. ®

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