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US Senate cans spam

'Great news for the war against spammers'

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The US Senate voted unanimously yesterday to get tough on spam.

The vote gave the green light to a number of anti-spam measures including tagging all emails with an abbreviation enabling punters to filter them out.

It also passed measures that would attempt to stop spammers remaining anonymous and providing false return email addresses.

The Senate also called on the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to set up a national email registry - similar to one already up and running to prevent telephone marketers from calling those who don't want to be pestered - containing email addresses of people who don't want to receive spam.

Anti-spam outfit Brightmail welcomed yesterday's passing of US Senate Bill 877 - aka the CAN Spam Act of 2003 - as "great news for the war against spammers".

The company said that it "puts a firm stake in the ground that the US government will not tolerate unsolicited bulk email".

However, critics claim the legislation will do little to stamp out hard-core spammers. Indeed, even FTC chairman, Timothy J Muris, is unconvinced about the effectiveness of the "Do Not Spam" list.

In August, Muris delivered his views on spam explaining that cracking down on junk email was a "daunting" task. He also said that legislation alone would do little or nothing to halt the growing flood of spam.

Since the Internet gives spammers anonymity - and because spammers can send thousands of emails a day at essentially no cost - he said that few would have the incentive to stop sending unsolicited emails in spite of new laws.

And on the issue of creating a "Do Not Spam" he said: "My advice to consumers would be: don't waste the time and effort to sign up."

Earlier this month politicians from the UK flew to the US to try and convince legislators on Capitol Hill to align its laws more closely with those in Europe. ®

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US should follow EU lead on spam - MPs

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