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New Spam Law/Child Registries in Utah and Michigan July 1
Wednesday, June 29 2005 @ 11:06 AM EDT

I just got an email from Anne P. Mitchell, Esq., President/CEO of the Institute for Spam and Internet Public Policy and Professor of Law, Lincoln Law School of San Jose. She informs me of a new law that I had never heard of, and maybe you haven't either. It is a kind of "do not call" registry, but for children. The law goes into effect July 1st in Utah and Michigan.

Ms. Mitchell was kind enough to let me share with you her email:

Hi PJ!

I wanted to let you know about a legal quandry in which every sender of commercial email is about to find themselves.

Last year, both the states of Michigan and Utah passed laws that mandated that they each create a "child protection registry" -- a list on which can be placed email addresses either 'belonging' to children, or to which children have access.

Under these laws, which are taking effect next week, if an email sender sends commercial email to any email address on the child protection registry, and if a primary purpose of that email is to advertise, or to link to an advertisement for, any product or service which is otherwise off limits to children (such as alcohol, tobacco, gambling, illegal or prescription drugs, or adult-themed content), that email sender faces strict liability which can include up to 3 years in prison, and fines of $30,000 or more. In addition, ISPs and the individuals whose email addresses are on the registry have a right of action against the sender, as does the state attorney general.

In order to avoid running afoul of the registry laws, emailers must either:

1. Ensure that they never send any email containing unpermitted materials, links to unpermitted materials, or even links to sites which have information about the unpermitted materials; or

2. Match their mailing lists against the email registries maintained by Michigan and Utah, on a monthly basis. There is a per-email-address fee associated with this list matching. Email lists are provided to the state in an encrypted fashion, and the email address registry is also encrypted.

Obviously these new laws raise some large legal and practical issues, not the least of which is that very few email senders have any idea that this is coming down the pike, even though the registries are mandated to be up and running no later than next Friday, July 1st, and compliance and enforcement to begin within thirty days following.

More to the point, however, even the most conscientious of emailers runs the risk of running afoul of these laws if they don't run their mailing list against the registries every month, for which they must pay. Consider what happens if I sign up for a Groklaw mailing list, and I also put my email address on one of the registries because my 16-year old sometimes has access to my email account. Now imagine that you send out a mailing to the mailing list which talks about the Internet wine sales case, and in that story is a link to one of the online wineries' sales sites. If that mailing goes to my registry-listed email address, you've just broken the law. The only way to ensure that this doesn't happen is to have scrubbed your mailing list against the Michigan or Utah registry, at which point my email address will be removed from your list (and then I will complain when I don't get your mailings for which I signed up). We have more information up at our site at, and hopefully there will be more sites with more information up within the next few weeks.

Kind regards,


Anne P. Mitchell, Esq.
Institute for Spam and Internet Public Policy
Professor of Law, Lincoln Law School of SJ
Advisor, Kinar Secure Email
Advisor, Relemail Email Privacy Certification
Advisor, Virus Bulletin

The only safe thing is to never include links to any site that has such ads. Considering how ads come and go by the minute on some sites, it's a daunting task. Now, Groklaw doesn't send out a newsletter, and we're not a commercial site and her example was as if we were, but we used it for illustrative purposes. I know many of our readers do have businesses that send out newsletters, and for that reason, I thought it was important to mention these new registries. Details here and some highlights from that page:

The laws to which Mitchell refers are the new Michigan and Utah "Child Protection Registry" laws. Under the laws both states must, no later than July 1st, create and operate email address registries similar to currently-existing "do not call" lists. Individuals may place on the registries any email address "to which a minor may have access". Schools and other child-focused organizations may also register entire Internet domains.

Once an email address is on the registry, commercial emailers are prohibited from sending it anything containing advertising, or even just linking to advertising, for a product or service that a minor is otherwise legally prohibited from accessing, such as alcohol, tobacco, gambling, prescription drugs, or adult-rated material. This is the case even if the mailing was requested. In order to ensure that they don't send unpermitted material to any email address on the registry, email senders are required to match their mailing lists against the registries on a monthly basis, for which they must pay both Michigan and Utah a per-email-address fee. . . .

Failure to comply with the new laws can lead to state-imposed penalties including "imprisonment for not more than 3 years or a fine of not more than $30,000.00, or both," and Internet service providers and individuals may also sue under the new laws.

Said Tom Kulzer, CEO of AWeber Communications, a leading commercial email auto-responder service, "Businesses should recognize that, right or wrong, these laws affect both solicited and unsolicited email." . . .

"It's immaterial whether one agrees with these new laws or not," advises Mitchell, who teaches Internet Law to upper-division law students at Lincoln. "Unless and until these laws are ruled invalid by a court, an emailer has only two choices to avoid getting into legal trouble: scrub their mailing lists against these registries once a month, or be sure that every single piece of email they send contains not even a hint of a link which someone could follow and find any of these forbidden products or services."

"It doesn't matter that these laws are coming out of left field for most emailers, or whether or not they are fair or make sense. They're here, compliance is required, and failure to comply can result in criminal and civil penalties," Mitchell added.

I asked her if being a noncommercial site makes any difference, in case I ever decided to send out a newsletter. The answer:

What matters is whether a) that email address is on the registry, and b) you send forbidden content. I actually think that you are *fine* - my example was assuming a commercial mailing list. But there will *always* be someone who wants to take it to the extreme, and I always try to advise people to take reasonable precautions to protect against that.

Here's some news coverage about the Utah bill, HB 165. Here's Michigan's, on page 21 [PDF]. Lawmakers in Illinois and South Carolina are considering similar legislation.


New Spam Law/Child Registries in Utah and Michigan July 1 | 268 comments | Create New Account
Comments belong to whoever posts them. Please notify us of inappropriate comments.
New Spam Law/Child Registries in Utah and Michigan July 1
Authored by: Stumbles on Wednesday, June 29 2005 @ 11:18 AM EDT
Actually I don't think I have to much if any objections to that law. Ever
try to get off some mail list? Ever question if you should really click on
that optout link?

Why should my child have to click on some porno optout link? Or for
that matter why should any one think I want to get email from them?

The onus should have always been on the sender.

You can tune a piano but you can't tune a fish.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Off-Topic here
Authored by: overshoot on Wednesday, June 29 2005 @ 11:22 AM EDT
Links, click, HTML -- the usual

[ Reply to This | # ]

Off Track -- more discovery
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, June 29 2005 @ 11:33 AM EDT
Here we go again: nt/legalissues/story/0,10801,102841,00.html

The following excerpt is a quote from the article:
"The court cannot rule as a matter of law on Novell's intent at the motion to dismiss stage before any discovery is considered in the case," Kimball wrote. "Unlike the court's ability to determine the ambiguities of a written contract, the court cannot opine on a party's state of mind when it was advancing certain legal positions. While it may be true that the plausibility of Novell's legal arguments regarding ownership is relevant to its state of mind, the court cannot draw inferences in favor of Novell at the motion to dismiss stage."

Next up in the case, the judge will set up a scheduling order for the discovery phase. "

End of excerpted quote.
I so much enjoy SCOX's discovery requests. I can see it now:

Every version of Unix from every release since it was created.

Am I being paranoid?

[ Reply to This | # ]

If I was in Utah or Michigan...
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, June 29 2005 @ 11:35 AM EDT
...I think I'd register all my email addresses as belonging to a minor.

[ Reply to This | # ]

New Spam Law/Child Registries in Utah and Michigan July 1
Authored by: jmc on Wednesday, June 29 2005 @ 11:53 AM EDT

Sorry if I sound stupid but is there anything actually supposed to be wrong with these laws?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Corrections.........if any
Authored by: morven24 on Wednesday, June 29 2005 @ 12:01 PM EDT
Please place corrections here. PJ finds them faster .

[ Reply to This | # ]

New Spam Law/Child Registries in Utah and Michigan July 1
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, June 29 2005 @ 12:01 PM EDT
I think a good wheeze might be to register your address, and then email every
politician, local government agency, hospital, clinic, prison, library asking
them of they can provide a link to their web-site explaining their policies on
{select from alcohol abuse, drug rehabilitation, tobacco health hazards, etc}
and then report them if their replies contain direct or indirect links to
information about forbidden activities.

That should help decide if the law is too broad.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Abusable Legislation.
Authored by: kawabago on Wednesday, June 29 2005 @ 12:09 PM EDT
I can think of so many ways to abuse this list that I can't imagine it standing
for very long. On the other hand my cable provider filters out all spam so I
don't suffer at all. I'm not sure what the solution should be but I think this
legislation is a really big mistake.


[ Reply to This | # ]

Very easy solution
Authored by: avdp on Wednesday, June 29 2005 @ 12:10 PM EDT
There is a very easy solution that the emailer did not mantion: stop sending
spam alltogether. Yes, I know this "solution" is a problem if it is
your business to send spam, but I am not feeling very sympathetic.

Regarding newsletters: legitimate newsletters are usually strictly opt-in (as
opposed to the spam "newsletters" I've been getting from which
are opt-out). If you require the user to opt-in, it's not too hard to ask them
to verify their age and/or their state. If you're not able to keep your
newsletter clean, simply reject people underage or people from those states.

[ Reply to This | # ]

This is bad how?
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, June 29 2005 @ 12:21 PM EDT
A legit list is by definition opt-in. If you opted in with a listed address, it
should be your problem. As long as the bill recognises that...

[ Reply to This | # ]

Questions abound!
Authored by: lightsail on Wednesday, June 29 2005 @ 12:29 PM EDT
1) Ads rotate on a site: The ad linked in a commercial email is acceptable when
linked and is unacceptable at a later date. What is scope of liability?

2) What standard is applied to determine what is acceptable? Local to recipient
or local to sender?

3) Does sending email by request ,i.e. not un-solicted, imply permission if
content is un-acceptable? Does an adult email account owner have the right to
select to receive email that may be non-conforming, yet be listed for other

4) Does a secondary link to non-conforming site count as violation? Is linking
to a clean page that then re-directs browser to the second page with profibited
content a legal loophole? The email did not contain link to non-conforming site.

5) Does link to acceptable site with non-conforming pop-ups trigger a violation?
Linked site was clean.

6) What about products that are both acceptable and un-acceptable? Game system
support childrens material and mature material. It is easy to foresee a gamer
email that advertises a system, by link, that has mature game for that system on
a secondary link or in a rotation advertisement.

[ Reply to This | # ]

New Spam Law/Child Registries in Utah and Michigan July 1
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, June 29 2005 @ 12:41 PM EDT
I'm surprised very few are not more bothered by this.

I mean, what gives Utah and Michigan the legal standing to require non-Utah
and non-Michigan business/people to pay them a per-email fee to look at
this registry?

This sounds like nothing more than an attempt to rake in some money for the
state coffers, all in the name of protecting children. After all, it's hard to
argue against anything that protects the children, right?

Plus, I haven't looked at the process, but do you buy the list of
addresses from the state? Or do you have to check per email address against
their system to make sure it isn't on the list? If it's the former, then this is
perfect way to buy spam lists, with a higher degree of deliverability than
most. I'd like to register an address I don't use anywhere else, just to see if

spammers use this to send spam (like they do just about every other list).

If it's the second way, then the spammers are giving their lists to these
since the states could store each of the addresses used to query their list.

Either way, I don't see how they could enforce this on every citizen in the US,

just the spammers sending from Utah and Michigan. If they can, how? What
am i missing?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Terribly dangerous law.
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, June 29 2005 @ 12:51 PM EDT
Spammers are already in violation of the law anyway: they send email through
compromised computer, fake the identity of people etc., so I doubt it will deter

On the other end, if they can find access to the registry (through bribery,
brute-forcing, etc.), they can use it to target children and scam them, which is
much more dangeous than spamming them.

Non-spammers will not be able to send emails with links to website anymore: they
cannot afford to pay the fee to check whether the recipient is in the registry,
and they cannot take the risk someone take control of the website and use it to
advertise inappropriate material.

[ Reply to This | # ]

New Spam Law/Child Registries in Utah and Michigan July 1
Authored by: CavemanOg on Wednesday, June 29 2005 @ 12:52 PM EDT
The FTC considers universal opt-out lists or "do-not-spam" registries
a bad idea. They even issued a <a
href="">report to
congress</a> (PDF) saying as much.

In the face of this, the states of Michigan and Utah <em>still</em>
passed laws creating limited "do-not-spam" registries for minors. In
addition, both state will charge a fee to allow senders to clean their lists
against it, which they <em>must</em> do once a month.

Michigan will charge no more than.03 cents per email to check a mailing list
against their registry (I've heard the actual amount will be .007 cents). For a
large commercial list, this can still work out to thousands of dollars, and it
<em>must</em> be done every month. Utah's law is much less clear on
the maximum amount it may charge for checking the registry, but news accounts
have them charging .005 cents per email address checked.

This is effectively a tax on commercial email, as no sender can completely
assure that a link placed in their mailing will not lead to prohibited

So, you can see why Anne is somewhat panicky. This law impacts legitimate
businesses. Spammers will flaunt it, and at any rate are too hard to track down
and prosecute routinely. It is unlikely that any legitimate marketer will
be prosecuted. However, they are being forced to pay for the service.

Getting the public to buy in to, and sign their children up for the registries
is another issue. If the law's enactment is any indication, the registries are
going to be poorly publicized. With few state residents signing up for the
program, one has to wonder about the utility derived from having the registry in
the first place.

Go back and read the FTC's report to congress. There are many very good reasons
why a "do-not-email" registry won't work.

One wag here has already suggested putting the email addresses of
<em>adults</em> into the registries to "protect" them as
well. Such behavior would of course ruin the registries for their intended
purpose. If one can't gaurantee that each email address in the registry belongs
to a minor, how can anyone protect against false charges arising from such data

These laws are a bad idea brought to fruition. In the end no child will be
protected by them. State coffers in Micihgan and Utah will be enriched
slightly. Michigan and Utah will be taxing all commercial email with no direct
benefit. It seems to me that there's a viable challenge to these laws under the
t;>commerce clause of the constituion</a>.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Isn't this a tax on interstate and foreign commerce, even commerce not thru Michigan/Utah
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, June 29 2005 @ 12:58 PM EDT
It's easy to think there is nothing wrong with this law, because it hits all the
right buttons

1 - it targets p0rn, drinking, smoking, drugs, gambling, etc. - things which
many people find objectionable

2 - it targets spammers, alleged spammers - another thing which many (even
more?) people find objectionable

3 - it protects the children!

But look at it in more detail folks

1- The definition of p0rn/drinking/drugs/gamlbing/smoking/etc. is so broad, that
*any* mailing list operator, would have to assume they might fall into these
categories even if they produce the most family-safe newsletter in the world.

This is because if they mention *any* web site, even their own web site, it may
contain a link to these things, or a link to a link to these things, etc. Any
web sites which contains outside ads (e.g. banners or Google AdSense for
example), doesn't usually completely control the contents of these ads, and the
ads change minute-to-minute anyway.

Additional if a web site contains a forum, an incoming RSS feed, etc., Again,
one of these things might sneak into the site.

Look at or or or - would they fall into
the definition in the law - absolutely, there are links to these types of things
in search results or news stories.

So an operator of **ANY** web site, even if intending to running a family-safe
web site, will have to assume for the purposes of the law, that the fall into
the child-prohibited category.

2. it doesn't just target spammmers, it also targets legitimate opt-in email
newsletters, even one-off emails, autoresponders, etc., etc. Again all
commercial emails seem to potentially fall under the law's definitions.

3. It makes great propaganda, but is there any real protection there?

First, they children keep getting the stuff for up to a month after opting out.

Second, if kids want to, they can find this stuff themselves. I'm sure those
interested know how to.

Now let's looking at the costs

If a web site operator in New York, remember *ANY* web site operator in New
York, wants to send email to various addresses inside the US and overseas, they
need to check *EVERY* address on their list against those in Utah and Michigan.

As it sounds like there is a fee per-email address check, the New York operator
is effectively being taxed (by the states of Michigan and Utah) for sending
email to California, Alaska, Hawaii, Florida, (etc), England, France, Spain,
Germany (etc) and so on.

Here is a question:

What gives Michigan and Utah the right to raise taxes on commerce between New
York and California, or between New York and foreign countries?


[ Reply to This | # ]

Thanks for the article-sized ad. :(
Authored by: stend on Wednesday, June 29 2005 @ 01:00 PM EDT

From the article:

We have more information up at our site at, and hopefully there will be more sites with more information up within the next few weeks.

From the linked site:

Email Senders:
How Do YOU Let Email Receivers Know That You Are Compliant With the New Child Protection Email Address Registry Laws?

IADB: It's Where You Need to Be

What is the IADB? The ISIPP Email Senders Accreditation Database. Despite the importance of the issue, that email was nothing less than an attempt by the ISIPP to profit from the law, by selling their IADB as "the only accreditation, or "reputation", service for email senders which identifies those email senders that are complying with the new Michigan and Utah laws", and you gave them the free advertising.

Please see bio for disclaimer.

[ Reply to This | # ]

On the other side
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, June 29 2005 @ 01:13 PM EDT
This sounds like a major step to encouraging spam for kids. Where else can you
get a verified mailing list of young people to use in advertising your toys and
breakfast cereal.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Livin in a Spammers paradise
Authored by: cruss on Wednesday, June 29 2005 @ 01:48 PM EDT
So now a spammer can get a list of valid emails, updated monthly that they can
send to. If I were an offshore spammer I would jump up and do a dance when I
hear about laws like this. I bet signing up for this list to "scrub"
your list against is going to be mostly done by people wanting to send email to
these kids.

Has anyone seen anything on how they plan on enforcing this outside of their

security is directly proportional to inconvenience
cruss at hcity net

[ Reply to This | # ]

Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, June 29 2005 @ 01:54 PM EDT
Somebody please enlighten me.

Say I live in New York. I run a mailing list. It's a legit mailing list,
opt-in only. I don't know about this new law so I don't do anything about it.
Someone in Utah opts-in for my list but, without realizing the possible
consequences, also registers their email address (their kids sometimes see their
mail). I use limited advertising to support my site and I send an email with a
tobacco advertisement sidebar which reaches this address.

Supposedly I've broken Utah law. However, I don't live in Utah. How can they
charge me? I haven't broken any Federal law, so there's no jurisdiction there.

Can they seek to have me extradited to Utah to face charges? Just how can they
enforce this outside of Utah?

[ Reply to This | # ]

New Spam Law/Child Registries - It is nice try but
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, June 29 2005 @ 02:15 PM EDT
This new law will not stop spam, it will create only some problems for law-abiding people. It is practically not enforceable; who will pay for bringing to justice a spamer for example from Europe which is using Hong Kong server registered in Malaysia for business in which is using Delaware address and an account in Cayman Island Bank. Not only the cost of such investigation matters, but from a legal point of view what rights Michigan or Utah State has to go after people from outside its jurisdiction. Second, where the crime was committed and who says it is a crime? Third, why legitimate businesses and private people have to pay for information necessary to be OK with a law in some states? It is not practically possible for enyone to be sure that a link to a site will not contain ill-favored advertisement, the contents of web pages are changing dynamically in secondes not in interval of 30 days.

It is nice try but the law is detached from reality and it will not have any effectiveness to stop spam or protect children.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Groklaw Newsletter
Authored by: DeepBlue on Wednesday, June 29 2005 @ 03:02 PM EDT
Groklaw doesn't send out a newsletter

Does the law define newsletter - I receive a mailing from Groklaw every day letting me know the latest stories.

All that matters is whether they can show ownership, they haven't and they can't, or whether they can show substantial similarity, they haven't and they can't.

[ Reply to This | # ]

New Spam Law/Child Registries in Utah and Michigan July 1
Authored by: producer on Wednesday, June 29 2005 @ 03:09 PM EDT
No surprise.
Utah is a theocracy and it's basic tenet of life is for a family to have as many
children as possible. When parents become overwhelmed with the job of taking
care of them all, they turn to the state and expect them to do everything
conceivable to help them with certain tasks of parenting, such as monitoring
their child's behavior; this is an ability that many parents are sorely
It's small wonder that Utah has the highest rate of per capita consumption of
Valium - for mom, Ritalin - for their children and ice cream and jello - for
everyone else, as sugar is the drug of choice being that it doesn't violate
certain teachings.
Bear in mind that Utah is also the home base of one of the greatest enemies of
computer technology.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Another stupid law for more stupid lawsuits
Authored by: DaveJakeman on Wednesday, June 29 2005 @ 03:24 PM EDT
Yet another instance of stupidity reigning supreme, under the guise of wonderful

This is like the EU subsidising farmers, which sounds very nice, but distorts
prices and causes immense economic problems within the EU. Despite the
stupidity of this action, it continues in the name of goodness.

This is like legislation forcing car drivers to wear seat belts, which sounds
very nice, but worsens the severity of road accidents due to the increased risks
drivers take when wearing a belt. Despite the stupidity of these laws, they
continue in the name of goodness.

This is like making food donations to poor countries, which sounds very nice,
but puts local farmers out of business due to the effect on local food prices.
Despite the stupidity of this, it continues in the name of goodness.

This new law is a case of "this sounds nice, let's do it", with zero
thought applied to the far-reaching implications.

This is stupidity.

But the real stupidity is not that stupidity has already occurred in creating
this stupid law in the first place; the stupidty is that it will not be repealed
when it is discovered to be a stupid, unworkable law - all because it is in the
name of wonderful goodness.

This is modern-day America. Next stupid law please.

Should one hear an accusation, first look to see how it might be levelled at the

[ Reply to This | # ]

New Spam Law/Child Registries in Utah and Michigan July 1
Authored by: dobbo on Wednesday, June 29 2005 @ 03:31 PM EDT
I took a quick look at the Utah bill
Section 4. Section 13-39-202 is enacted to read:
13-39-202. Prohibition of sending certain materials to a registered contact point.
  1. A person may not send, cause to be sent, or conspire with a third party to send a communication to a contact point or domain that has been registered for more than 30 calendar days with the division under Section 13-39-201 if the communication:
    1. advertises a product or service that a minor is prohibited by law from purchasing; or
    2. contains or advertises material that is harmful to minors, as defined in Section 76-10-1201.
  2. The consent of a minor is not a defense to a violation of this section.
  3. An Internet service provider does not violate this section for solely transmitting a message across the network of the Internet service provider.

IANAL and all that jazz, but if I read that correctly doesn't this mean that everyone (in Utah) has to check the list?

Okay, so this law doesn't effect me. Utah law is not valid in Britian, dispite what the Utah state legislator may wish. But if I ever visit Utah remind me not to send any e-mails.

I have a cunning plan for any state that inacts stupid laws like this. Cut them off from the Internet. How else can we garentee that we do not break the law accidentally? In Utah's case this would also have the effect of cutting SCO of the Internet too, and isn't that in everyone's best intrests (including McBride's -- he will not be able to read all the horrible stuff written about him and his company on Groklaw).


[ Reply to This | # ]

New Spam Law/ChiCAN-SPAM
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, June 29 2005 @ 03:34 PM EDT
Isn't this going to be another CAN-SPAM which we know cannot and will not work,
but targeted specifically against children? Wait till those spammers get a list
of this email addresses (just think how secure our credit card numbers and SS
numbers are). And once it is out, you think they will keep the email addresses
to themselves. They will definitely be selling it. Very soon, you are going to
get pedophiles, porn, etc, emailing those on the list.<P>

[ Reply to This | # ]

Several Points
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, June 29 2005 @ 04:28 PM EDT
1. The registry and submission/scrubbing processes are encrypted - I take this
to mean that the list is not directly accessible, but that a mailing company
would submit a list of potential emails and recieve back an updated list with
the registered emails removed.

2. The law affects solicited and unsolicited emails - this is a big point, as I
am aware of more than one family that shares their ISP based email address.
Material mailed to each family member is then sorted by subject or name into
seperate folders. Yes it would be easier to have multiple email accounts, but
they dont. Better hope you arent sending any mature material to the father for

3. Potential for abuse/revenge tactics. I want to harm your site or company.
Your site or company provides a mailing service. I register for that service,
and then submit my email address to that i created for this purpose to the
registry for protection. I then sue when you email me. We should all be aware
that not all companies opperate in nice, good faith ways. I wouldn't put it
beyond SCO for example to use a third party individual to try and trap and sue
PJ - fortunately groklaw doesn't cover unsuitable topics, and doesn't provide a
newsletter service, but you can see what I mean.

[ Reply to This | # ]

How will they be able to handle the load?
Authored by: cmc on Wednesday, June 29 2005 @ 05:18 PM EDT
OK, I may be interpreting this wrong, but here's how I see it. Utah and
Michigan are saying that any mail going into their state has to be checked
against these lists, right? And that you are strictly liable for mail entering
their state (even if you are unaware of it). Can we agree on that?

OK, so that means (to me) that *ALL* email everywhere (unless you are 100%
proof-postive, all-doubt-removed that the email does not enter those two states)
will need to be checked against these lists. Well, all legitimate email
(including email that may be interpreted as spam). There's *LOTS* of legitimate
email, even just in mailing lists. How will their servers handle the load? Can
we say slashdot effect? I seriously hope they have a large enough
infrastructure in place to handle it. Otherwise, the companies providing the
email-matching service will be liable (or at least responsible) for either 1)
email getting through which shouldn't be getting through, or 2) email not
reaching the recipient because the email can't be filtered by the matching
service, because the matching service has fallen over under the load.


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Enough straw men already
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, June 29 2005 @ 07:56 PM EDT
The spammer-supporters are trying to say that forwarding a friend an off-color joke, or having someone with a tasteless .sig post to a mailing list, will expose everyone to liability under this law. That's totally bogus. Look at what the original article said:
if an email sender sends commercial email to any email address on the child protection registry, and if a primary purpose of that email is to advertise, or to link to an advertisement for, any product or service which is otherwise off limits to children (such as alcohol, tobacco, gambling, illegal or prescription drugs, or adult-themed content)
Forwarding a joke to a friend is not commercial email. The primary purpose of an email discussion list is not to advertise. A .sig line is not a product or service. Enough with the straw men already, you know how easily they catch fire when the flaming starts.

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A serious question of relief
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, June 29 2005 @ 08:02 PM EDT
The major problem as I see it is that families have little or no relief from the
overwhelming floods of UCE's that are sent at them every day.

How then do the folks who are up in arms over this law expect parents to protect
their children from this abuse?
Monitoring your children only goes so far - there are only so many hours in a
day, and dealing with the reactions of a teenager who's e-mail box you are
"monitoring" is something I shudder when when I think about.

The technology industry has squabbled over this issue for years now, and they
are still squabbling. WHY? because they are companies who are primarily
interested in profits. Worse yet they are competitors squabbling over profits -
ISP's and software companies vs. marketing and advertising companies.

With this much money flying around, there will be no fix by the companies
involved. Look at MS trying to proprietize the SenderID /SPF initiative and the
massive spending by the advertising lobby.

No, since there are so many people and companies out there who are bent on doing
what they want, how they want, in the name of big bucks, there will be no relief
for the average joe (or joe jr.) without someone stepping in and slamming the
door. The unfortunate side of this is that a lot of innocent fingers are at
risk of getting pinched as it closes. Another sad thing is that this could be
avoided if there was an effective way offered to deal with the low life
spammer/scammer crowds.

I would also like to point out that it's one thing to be up in arms over
potential issues, but let's not forget our friend Daniel Wallace - who we just
spent days flaming for just such a reaction.

I am more than sure that an innocent non-commercial mailing list that has an
obscure reference or link to an add or page that is out of the control of the
sender is not going to catch the ire of the justice system. Advertise viagra
directly, and all bets are off.

Remember - this law allows them to prosecute offenders, it does not compel them
to look for every violation. It gives them the teeth to give relief to families
from gross offenders that the technology industry has failed to offer a solution
to so far.

And a word to the advertisers - just as in the physical world, your rights end
where my nose begins - well, the same is true for my mailbox (or at least it
should). It's mine, just like my nose. I control it, I pay for it, I alone
should get to decide what ends up in it (finger jokes aside). Just as it's not
a constitutional right to be able to punch my nose, it's not a constitutional
right to advertise to me - no where in the constitution is there a guarantee of
an audience. And besides, advertising is not free speech. Advertising is a
commercial act - one that the government has (or should have) every right to
regulate - in order to keep would be exploiters in check.

I say if this law bothers you, then focus your efforts not at being angry at the
government, but at those slime balls that caused the government to react in the
first place. Figure out a way to provide serious relief to families,
technological or otherwise. Use the collective power you have witnessed here
and do something besides throw what ifs and complaints to the wind.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, June 29 2005 @ 09:55 PM EDT
If I said what I really think you would delete it and I might be arrested. Let's
just say that it maintains my current theory on the propensity of legislators to
try to fool mother nature.

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How useful to society is advertising anyway?
Authored by: CraigV on Wednesday, June 29 2005 @ 10:05 PM EDT
I have come to the conclusion that advertising is greatly
overrated. If I need something, I get on the Internet and
search for it.

Most advertising seems to be directed at the following

1. Convince potential customers that your product is
better than your competitors.

This merely creates an arms race that benefits those that
sell advertising space and ultimately passes costs on to

2. Create customer "want" when there is no customer

This furthers our waste society and fools people into bad

3. Informing potential customers of new or improved

This can be good, but advertisements that actually provide
useful information are very rare.

4. Corporate public relations.

A systematic effort to guide public opinion for the
benefit of the stockholders.

What citizens need is the ability to find products with
reliable specifications (types of bearings in motors,
lifetime of batteries, mpg of cars, etc.) that meet their
needs at a favorable price. The Internet and catalog
companies can meet this need without pushing sales pitches
on the citizenry.

How I would like to greatly restrict all push advertising.
I would not mind paying for useful content from web sites
and publications.

It seems that most spam could be prosecuted by enforcement
of fraud laws where subjects and return addresses, etc.,
are fraudlently constructed to avoid filters.

Too bad I can't charge for processing received

Craig Van Degrift

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Sounds like a good excuse to use GPG mail
Authored by: globularity on Thursday, June 30 2005 @ 12:02 AM EDT
The only sure way to avoid being caught in this mess is to encrypt all emails,
that way even though you may inadvertently send stuff to an address on the list
only people you authorised to view it can read it. Bit hard to get a conviction,
first off because the mail as transported and recieved doesnt contain any such
links, only after further processing do the links appear, that processing is
independant of the mail subsystem.
The silly thing is, back when I was a teenager (long before public internet)
gambling was stuff that old people wasted thier twilight years doing, alcohol
tasted disgusting, tobacco smelt good until it was burned and porn was stuff you
either found under your parents bed or at the local waste paper depot.
Interestingly the government is complicit by profiting from 3 of the 4 things
mentioned and disriminates against people who can't vote against them.

my A$0.02

"It's all about myths and conceptions" I think that is what Darl meant to say.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Consider the source!
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, June 30 2005 @ 11:29 AM EDT
The author of that very scary article just happens to be someone who sells
books, seminars, and services on avoiding or complying with anti-spam laws to,
guess who, spammers. Someone who has every interest in making that law sound as
scary as possible in order to drive more customers to the commercial website
which is so conveniently linked in the article.

Hate to say it, PJ, but you just got used. :(

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Spam tax
Authored by: cybervegan on Thursday, June 30 2005 @ 03:07 PM EDT
This seems to me to be cynical attempt to indirectly profit from spam.

It probably won't cut down on spam, nor will it be likely to lead to the
prosecution of many actual spammers. It will probably result in a few
high-profile prosecutions against some companies that use spam to advertise, but
the majority of spam comes from places outside of these laws' jurisdictions
anyway, and furthermore, the messages themselves almost invariable eminate from
hacked/owned windows computers zombies.

I guess it could result in a hike in sales of anti-virus/spyware software - due
to fears about inadvertantly getting prosecuted for sending out hundreds of
thousands of porn spam mails that you didn't know you were sending... (not sure
if the laws themselves reach this far but it wouldn't surprise me, due to the
apparent lack of technological understanding it shows).

Maybe a better approach would be to enact a law that made it an offense to send
spam to addresses containing a legally recognised term like "minor" or
"nospam" in mailbox domain names, e.g.

Evidently the former example would be open to other sorts of abuse, and neither
would work very well without some form of sender authentication system in place
to cut out the zombie eminated mails and those with spoofed "from"

The main reason that nothing effective has been done so far, is that the problem
is really quite complex and there is a huge installed base of mail systems and
readers that would have to be upgraded, almost in synchrony. E-mail simply was
not designed from the outset with security or sender- authenticity in mind - it
was really just an automatic internal memo replicator. The flaw really is deep
within the way e-mail works, but the problem is that it became so immensely
popular notwithstanding that fact.

There are e-mail systems which are both secure and provide a fair measure of
sender-authenticity (Lotus Notes for example) but they are both expensive and
proprietary - and to maintain trust, you must ensure that every link in the
chain between sender and recipient is compliant and properly secured. This
would of course be one of the worst sorts of mono-culture, if adopted globally,
because the vested interests would find loopholes in the chosen system and then
all the wonderful advantages would be gone for everyone.

"It's all snakes and no ladders in this game!"

I'd love to know how the legislators thought that this act would help them
against the vast majority of foreign spammers, who are of course (as mentioned
above) outside the jurisdiction of these laws. I assume that the laws could
have US-wide reach, but without international treaties, I can't see how they
could touch spammers in Korea or Bulgaria, for instance. Maybe I'm missing


Software source code is a bit like underwear - you only want to show it off in
public if it's clean and tidy. Refusal could be due to embarrassment or shame...

[ Reply to This | # ]

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