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Congress passes anti-spam bill

'Ham fisted' CAN-SPAM Act

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Congress yesterday passed a much-criticised anti-spam bill, after the House voted to approve minor Senate amendments.

The Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing (CAN-SPAM) Act does more harm than good in the fight against spam, according to critics.

The bill criminalises common spamming tactics, such as using false return address. But it overrides Californian laws which had allowed spam recipients to sue their tormentors.

The bill requires online marketeers to act on requests to "opt out" of future emails.

This is much less strict than the 'opt-in' approach adopted by European Union legislation, which means e-marketers must seek the permission of consumers before they send out commercial emails.

Unfavourable comparisons between the two approaches has led anti-spam group Spamhaus to dub the bill the YOU-CAN-SPAM Act.

The Can-Spam Act is expected to be signed into law by President Bush before the start of next year. ®

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