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Re: Legislative Relief - was Re: Motion for a new POST NSF AUP
From: "Jeffrey I. Schiller" <jis () MIT EDU>
Date: Mon, 16 Oct 1995 16:22:05 -0400

On Oct 16, 12:09pm, Robert Raisch, The Internet Company wrote:
I would like to propose that we seek legislative relief from
this ever-increasing problem.  I have spoken with counsel and
now understand what is required to support the enactment of
federal legislation to prohibit the misuse of electronic mail
and Usenet news by unprincipled "spammers."

There is already law which prohibits marketing via facsimile and
cellular telephone.  My position is that e-mail and Usenet news
are similar vehicles in the sense that there is a measurable
cost on the receiver's end.  I believe that this has the
potential of being a high-visibility legal issue, and one that
would be a "vote getter" as it speaks directly to an educated,
active voting constituency.

How do you propose to deal with off-shore spammers? This isn't an issue
for FAXing because an offshore FAX sender would have to pay
international phone rates, which act as a natural deterent. However an
e-mail message can be as quickly and easily sent from off-shore as it
can be sent from within the U.S.

Legislative solutions will also not address the ease of which someone
can spam using someone else's name, not to mention the ease of routing
the spam through other Internet hosts, including those which are

It is bad enough today that when someone sends spam that appears to be
from my institution (but is often only forged to appear that way), that
I receive many complaints from people across the network. If such spam
was against the law, I suspect that I would be visited by law
enforcement agents, who will waste my time while I explain (or prove)
that the spam did in fact not originate from my institution.

Policies (and laws) which are not enforceable are often worse then no
laws at all.


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