Monday, November 13, 2006

spam, spam, spam, spam

As I wrote earlier, the spam level is getting to be pretty amazing: I'm getting 3-4 spam messages per real message, and that's counting only the spam that makes it past spamassassin. Unfortunately, legally, there doesn't seem to be much I can do about it even though California has a rather nice anti-spam law on the books, so I'm stuck using technological band-aids. The problem, you see, is that the Federal CAN-SPAM act preempts state spam laws, apparently including the California law's private cause of action. Which means I'd have a hard time taking these people to small claims court over the spam they're sending. (Heck, at this point, they're sending enough I ought to be able to take them regular old state court for some impressive statutory damages .)

So I got to wondering who is responsible for preempting the state law. It turns out, the initial version of the CAN-SPAM act, as introduced in the Senate as bill S. 877, includes the preemption clause. Check out section 7(b)(1):
In general.--This Act supersedes any State or local government statute, regulation, or rule regulating the use of electronic mail to send commercial messages.
There are some exceptions, but I don't have time to really dig in and understand them now. So at least for the time being, the folks who introduced the bill are the prime suspects:
Mr. Burns (for himself, Mr. Wyden, Mr. Stevens, Mr. Breaux, Mr. Thomas, Ms. Landrieu, and Mr. Schumer) introduced the following bill;
Maybe someone out there who understands this law better than I do can offer some insight, because I'm running out of technological band-aids.

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