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Congressman Gene Green

Representing the 29th District of Texas

Green to Consider Changes to HR 2515, Anti-Spam Act of 2003

October 23, 2003
Press Release
Washington, DC - Yesterday evening, the U.S. Senate took a major step to protect consumers from unwanted commercial email, much of which is deceptive and obscene.  The passage of an FTC study on the feasibility of a Do-Not-Spam list by the Senate is welcome; I will be working on adding a similar provision to the legislation I have worked on with Rep. Heather Wilson (R-NM) for four years now."
 
 However, given the shady nature of most spammers, the FTC Chairman and some experts doubt a Do-Not-Spam list will be as effective as the Do-Not-Call list.  We have to be careful that a Do-Not-Spam list could give consumers a false sense of security.
 
I want to thank all of our Senators for acting on a bill influenced by our work.  However, there are some major holes in the Senate bill (S. 877) that need to be fixed.
 
The Senate bill has a vague definition of commercial email, using a primary purpose standard.  The Wilson-Green Anti-Spam Act (H.R.2515) defines spam as any email advertising or promoting a product or service and requires all commercial email to honor consumer opt-out requests.
 
Our House bill, which has 71 bi-partisan cosponsors, including a strong majority of the Energy and Commerce Committee, also requires the consumer opt-outs be binding on senders affiliates. Unfortunately, the Senate allows separate lines of business within the same corporate structure to ignore consumers opt-out requests.
 
The most important part of any anti-spam bill is the enforcement.  The Senate bill caps the penalties State Attorney Generals can put on spammers at $1 million.  That is not enough of a deterrent to stop large spamming operations and breaks all consumer protection law precedent. 
 
Our bill is the strongest anti-spam bill in Congress, and that is what consumers want.  I look forward to working with Chairman Tauzin to move legislation out of the House as soon as possible.  The House passed Wilson-Green in 2000 by a vote of 427 to 1, and I am sure we can do as well again.