Congress Takes Another Look at Spam

Sens. Conrad Burns, R-Mont., and Ron Wyden, D-Ore., reintroduce the CAN-SPAM bill.

Congress is taking another stab this year at controlling the growing volume of spam that is clogging the nations e-mail boxes. Thursday, Sens. Conrad Burns, R-Mont., and Ron Wyden, D-Ore., reintroduced the CAN-SPAM bill, which won the support of the Senate Commerce Committee last year but did not make it to a vote on the Senate floor.

The legislation, which is backed by large ISPs (Internet service providers), including Yahoo! Inc. and America Online Inc., would require that all unsolicited marketing e-mail contain a valid return address. Senders would be banned from sending further messages once a consumer asked them to stop.

The bill would also permit ISPs to sue to keep illegal spam off their networks, and it would allow the Federal Trade Commission to levy fines on unlawful spammers. States would also be authorized to bring lawsuits on behalf of citizens.

Yahoo! endorses the measure as a multifaceted approach, encompassing anti-spam technology and legislation, according to Terrell Karlsten, the companys public relations manager.

"Yahoo! supports the Burns-Wyden bill because it provides for effective deterrents, penalties and marketing rules that would give consumers and email service providers additional protection from unsolicited commercial email," the company said in a statement.