‘Spam’ crackdown urged

Thursday, 5 September 2002, 9:45 AM EST

Although there are currently 20 state laws regulating the sending of unsolicited e-mail there is no overarching federal law. Several anti-spam bills have been introduced in Congress but they’ve gone nowhere as the nation’s attention veered dramatically toward improving national security in after the terrorist attacks of 9-11.

Although the consumer groups asking the FTC for tougher sanctions on junk e-mail didn’t say the issue was on the level of national security, they minced no words declaring the urgency of the matter.

Spam “is probably the first major consumer issue of the 21st century,” said Samuel Simon, chairman of the Telecommunication Research & Action Center, a non-profit Washington, D.C.-based organization. Spam now accounts for nearly one of every three e-mails sent, the groups said. “Spam e-mail really is the crack cocaine of marketing,” said Ken McEldowney, executive director, of Consumer Action. “It’s cheap, readily available; it’s irresistible to the addict that uses it over and over.”

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