Spam May Be a Thing of The Past; House Votes Tomorrow

Spammers may have to find a new trade if the House of Representatives passes a piece of legislation tomorrow that will outlaw certain types of mass mailings, with penalties of up to five years in prison and fines of $6 million dollars.

The bill also would supplant even tougher anti-spam laws already passed in some states, including a California law scheduled to take effect January 1. The California law would have allowed an individual to sue a company that spammed them.

Spammers won’t be able to disguise their identity by using a false return address or misleading subject line. They also would prohibit senders from harvesting addresses off Web sites and require such e-mails to include a mechanism so recipients can indicate they do not want future mass mailings.  

Last month, the Senate passed similar legislation, meaning a compromise between the two versions should be obtainable - meaning a lot less spam.

Both bills authorize the Federal Trade Commission to establish a do-not-spam list, similar to the agency's popular do-not-call list of telephone numbers that marketers are supposed not to call.