Committee Approves Anti-Spam Legislation

June 19, 2003

Washington, DC – The Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation today approved by voice vote, S. 877, Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act of 2003 (CAN-SPAM). Senator Burns (R-MT) introduced the bill on May 21, 2003. The purpose of the bill is to empower consumers to opt out of unwanted commercial e-mail messages ("spam") and to impose a series of penalties on those who violate the Act by deliberately falsifying their identities or the content of their messages to consumers. With this bill, all unsolicited marketing e-mail would be required to have a valid return e-mail address so recipients could easily ask to be removed from mass e-mail lists. Once notified, marketers would be prohibited from sending any further messages to a consumer who has asked them to stop. In addition to making it easier for consumers to be removed from mass e-mail lists, the bill would enable Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to bring action to keep unlawful spam from their networks. The legislation contains strong enforcement provisions allowing the Federal Trade Commission to impose civil fines on those who violate the law. State Attorneys General would be given the ability to bring suit on behalf of citizens who have been victimized by unscrupulous marketers. An amendment by Senator McCain (R-AZ) to provide additional enforcement authority for the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to hold liable unscrupulous businesses that employ spammers to fraudulently promote their businesses.
Click here for a PDF version of Sen. McCain's amendment.

Click here for a PDF version of Sen. Burn's substitute amendment.