Many in industry consider the Burns/Wyden initiative a good first step, but too weak to handle the problem. Brian Arbogast, a vice president at Microsoft Corp., said that the bill does not contain adequate enforcement opportunity for ISPs and states. Arbogast also said that legislation should contain a provision requiring "ADV" labeling. From America Online Inc.s perspective, the Burns/Wyden approach sets good baseline standards, but "it needs to be complimented with strong criminal penalties for the really slimy folks," said Joe Barrett, senior vice president of Systems Operations at AOL.There is much debate among policy-makers over the very definition of spam. The direct marketing industry rejects the notion that all unsolicited, bulk e-mail constitutes spam. Maintaining that the problem of spam is caused by a small group of fraudulent people, Robert Wientzen, president of the Direct Marketing Association, said a key to the solution lies in identifying deceptive e-mailers.
Most state attorneys general oppose the Burns/Wyden measure because it pre-empts state legislation and creates too many loopholes for spammers to avoid prosecution, according to Christine Gregoire, the attorney general of Washington.