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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Friday, May 23, 2003

CONTACT:

Ken Johnson (Energy and Commerce Committee) 202-225-5735

Jeff Lungren (Judiciary Committee) 202-225-2492

Kimrey Rhinehardt (Congressman Richard Burr) 202-225-2071

Tauzin, Sensenbrenner, Burr Introduce Anti-SPAM Bill

Washington (May 23) - Following months of intensive negotiations, House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Billy Tauzin (R-LA), House Judiciary Committee Chairman James Sensenbrenner (R-WI) and Congressman Richard Burr (R-NC), vice chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee and lead sponsor, have introduced H.R. 2214, the RID SPAM Act of 2003. This legislation, which has broad-based support, will allow consumers to opt-out of any commercial e-mail they choose not to receive.

Other original cosponsors include: Reps. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), Fred Upton (R-MI), Melissa Hart (R-PA), Cliff Stearns (R-FL), and Chris Cannon (R-UT).

"The time has come to give the American people the power to say no. No to unwanted spam and no to the endless headaches involved with the crippling congestion spam causes to computers every day throughout this country," said Chairman Tauzin. "While e-mail has brought consumers a fast, efficient and reliable communications medium, the explosion of spam today threatens to flood the critical arteries of the networks that carry all e-mail, whether consumers want it or not."

"This tough anti-spam legislation targets egregious e-mail abusers who disrupt businesses and harass individuals. Those who falsify their e-mail identity, send sexually-explicit e-mail to unsuspecting individuals, and use e-mail as a weapon will be punished severely with criminal penalties under this legislation," Chairman Sensenbrenner stated. "No legislation alone can stop the spam scourge. This problem only will be addressed through federal legislation in concert with technical solutions and the efforts of ISPs and legitimate marketers. I urge consumers to take advantage of software that blocks spam.

"The House Judiciary Committee will be working with the Energy and Commerce Committee to move this legislation expeditiously through the House. It's my hope the House will approve the RID SPAM Act by the end of June," added Chairman Sensenbrenner.

"I am pleased to join Chairman Tauzin and Chairman Sensenbrenner in their efforts to rid America's inbox of unwanted commercial email,” stated Rep. Burr. "In crafting this legislation, we have worked hard to maintain the delicate balance of maintaining a vibrant means of communication and e-commerce while extending consumers the ability to say no to the filth that floods their inbox."

"It won't be long before half of all e-mail is considered 'spam.' I will not stand by and allow this to continue and I can assure you that folks throughout America won't stand for it either. H.R. 2214 is a step in the right direction and I look forward to swift consideration of this important legislation," Rep. Burr concluded.

"It is time to can spam. Unsolicited e-mail, such as advertisements, solicitations or chain letters, is the 'junk mail' of the information age," said Rep. Goodlatte, who co-chairs the Congressional Internet Caucus, said. "These unwanted messages burden consumers by slowing down their e-mail connections and cause big problems for small Internet Service Providers that are trying to compete with larger companies and larger servers. The RID Spam Act is an exciting development in the effort to curb spam, and I am hopeful that it will move forward quickly. "

Specifically, the bill:

Empowers consumers with the choice to opt-out of all commercial e-mail and prohibits the sending of fraudulent spam. (Commercial e-mail is any e-mail message for which the primary purpose is an advertisement or promotion.)

Provides states, ISPs, the FTC and DOJ with the necessary criminal and civil tools to enforce state computer fraud laws and general fraud laws against spammers.

Requires that any commercial e-mail must include identification that: 1) the message is an advertisement; 2) a mechanism to opt-out of receiving future e-mails, and 3) a valid street address for service of process.

Protects against fraudulent practices in sending commercial e-mail by making it unlawful to falsify header information or collect addresses from a website and send spam to these unsuspecting e-mail addresses.

Both committees expect to begin hearings on the legislation next month.