Can spam? Or new can of worms?

Monday, 22 December 2003, 2:27 PM EST

On New Year's Day, Americans will wake up to more than a crushing hangover; they will have a new federal antispam law and, according to one commercial group, a new definition of spam.

Representatives of the Direct Marketing Association said the CAN-SPAM Act, which President Bush signed into law Tuesday, settles any argument about the difference between spammers and legitimate e-mail marketers.

"CAN-SPAM removes any level of subjectivity and makes it crystal clear who is a spammer and who is not," DMA spokesman Louis Mastria said.

"CAN-SPAM, in fact, does no such thing," retorted Steve Linford, head of the Spamhaus Project, based in the United Kingdom. "The only thing it makes crystal clear is that spammers must stop forging their addresses."

Linford and many other antispam activists consider all unsolicited bulk e-mail spam, regardless of its origin or content. The DMA says the label should only apply to deceptive or fraudulent bulk e-mail.

[ Read more ]

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