Senate Democrats

Schumer: International Treaty Is Needed To Battle Email Spam

Testifying before Senate Commerce Committee, Schumer says international effort is needed to fully curb growing epidemic of unsolicited emails

Schumer bill would create no-spam registry like effective do-not-call registries that have stopped telemarketers and would impose tough criminal and civil penalties on spammers

An international treaty is needed to battle email spam, US Senator Charles E. Schumer said at a Senate Commerce Committee hearing today on how to curtail unsolicited emails. Schumer is assembling a comprehensive legislative package to combat spam that would create a “no-spam” list comparable to the “do-not-call” lists that successfully block telemarketers. Schumer’s bill would subject mass-emailers, for the first time ever, to tough criminal and civil penalties – including jail time for serious repeat offenders. The following is Schumer’s written testimony to the Committee:

Chairman McCain, Senator Hollings, Colleagues, Good Morning. I want to thank you for holding this hearing to address Unsolicited Commercial E-Mail or Spam. I also want to commend Senators Burns and Wyden for their leadership and hard work on this issue.

We are under siege. Armies of online marketers have overrun email inboxes across the country with ads for herbal remedies, get-rich-quick schemes and pornography. Today, spam traffic is growing at a geometric rate, causing the Superhighway to enter a state of virtual gridlock. What was a simple annoyance last year has become a major concern this year and could cripple one of the greatest inventions of the 20th century next year if nothing is done.

Way back in 1999, the average email user received just 40 pieces of unsolicited commercial email – what we call spam – each year. This year, the number is expected to pass 2,500. I know that I’m lucky if I don’t get 40 pieces of spam every couple of days!

As a result, a revolution against spam is brewing as the epidemic of junk email exacts an ever increasing toll on families, businesses and the economy. A number of us in the Senate have proposed legislation aimed at curbing the spread of spam. I have proposed a no-spam list, criminal penalties for spammers, and several other initiatives geared toward reducing the number of unwanted emails we get in our inboxes.