Senate Democrats

Schumer: Compromise Reached On Bill To Create A No-Spam Registry

Ending months of negotiations, Schumer, Commerce Committee end logjam on what is first federal email spam bill to pass Senate

Schumer has been leading the effort to create a no-spam registry comparable to the federal “do-not-call” list; Polls show 3 in 4 Americans want a no-spam registry

US Senator Charles Schumer today announced a deal on legislation authorizing the FTC to create a no-spam email registry. Schumer, who has been negotiating with Senators Hollings, McCain, L. Graham, Burns, Wyden and Dayton for months, helped broker the agreement that paved the way for the Senate to pass a law creating the first federal no-spam registry by a 97-0 margin last night.

“Americans scored their first major victory today in the effort to take the Internet back from spammers,” Schumer said. “This deal paves the way for the creation of a first-of-its-kind registry that will empower people to protect themselves from the onslaught of email clogging their in-boxes. The vast majority of Americans say they want a do‑not‑spam registry, and today the Senate is granting them their wish.”

The agreement requires the FTC to deliver a plan to Congress for creating a no-spam registry within six months and authorizes it to implement the plan within 9 months. The public support for a no-spam registry is overwhelming and the FTC has already said it is technologically possible. Email spam is any form of unsolicited email that users receive from commercial sources. The most common forms of spam include advertisements for online gambling services, pornography, herbal remedies or financial schemes, many of which are fraudulent in nature.

Last week, Schumer released a national survey, conducted by UnSpam and InsightExpress, showing that 3 in 4 Americans favor a no-spam registry. The poll also showed that parents are growing increasingly concerned about email spam infested with pornography and think a federal “no-spam” list akin to the FTC’s “Do Not Call” registry is the best way to keep obscene emails from reaching their children’s in-boxes.

Another 3 in 4 consumers believe spam makes checking their email a burden and complain that they are offended by some of the email they get. In addition, over 80% of the survey’s respondents report that they are less likely to read and respond to any commercial email messages because of spam. Schumer said other polls have shown that there is wide dissatisfaction with the efforts of the Internet Service Providers to combat spam and that almost 85% of people believe that laws are needed in addition to the efforts of the ISPs.

Earlier this year, Schumer introduced legislation that would establish costly fines for spamming activity, mandate jail time for repeat offenders, and create a “Do-Not-Spam” list of e-mail addresses similar to the FTC’s new “Do-Not-Call” registry that has succeeded in a number of states in virtually eliminating unwanted telemarketing calls. The bill would also make it a crime to harvest e-mail addresses, eliminating the most common technique spammers use to compile address lists. It would require commercial email to be labeled with “ADV” to permit filtering and institute other anti-fraud measures that would help email filters separate spam from personal or business-related email and clamp down on deceptive information that the FTC estimates is present in 66% of all junk e-mail.

Schumer’s no-spam registry approach has been endorsed by the Christian Coalition, the Coalition Against Unsolicited Commercial Email (CAUCE), and Unspam.