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By Caron Carlson  |  Posted 2003-05-21 Print this article Print

The approach one supports depends in large part on whether one defines spam as fraudulent and deceptive commercial e-mail or simply as unwanted commercial e-mail. The direct marketing industry, and to some degree the ISP industry, are pressing Congress to enhance tools to prosecute fraudulent spammers and leave legal e-mail marketers alone. Ted Leonsis, vice chairman of America Online Inc., told the Senate Commerce Committee Wednesday that spam is the most important issue AOL is facing today. "There is raw anger that spam generates," Leonsis said, calling on lawmakers to create more tools for prosecuting fraudulent and deceptive spammers.
Others see the problem more as an issue of sheer e-mail volume, to which ISPs themselves contribute. Charging that AOL operates its "own personal spam company" via AOL Special Offers, Ronald Scelson, president of Scelson Online Marketing and self-styled "most hated person" at the hearing, told the committee that some ISPs are filtering out legal messages if they receive one complaint.
Everyone agrees that whatever measure the U.S. Congress enacts will not solve the entire spam problem because a large percentage of spam originates overseas. Wednesday, Schumer called for an international treaty to enable the United States to collaborate with other nations battling spam. The FTC has asked Congress for additional authority to share information with law enforcement agencies overseas. Latest Stories by Caron Carlson:


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