|Received:||3/21/2004 10:22:47 AM|
|Agency:||Federal Trade Commission|
A1:False "personal" greetings and introductory text should be considered part of the commercial content of the message. For example, there are a number of viruses circulating that purport to be a message from a friend to view pictures that were supposedly taken when fishing together, etc. A2: It is too easy to spoof someone's return email address, therefore one cannot rely on the sender's address to determine whether the message is spam. A3: If the email is from any organization and/or individual not known by the recipient, then it is likely a commercial message. That does not mean that messages sent by organizations and/or individuals known to the recipient can not be spam. Also, deliberate misspellings of key words within the message, such as V*i*a*g*r*a are clearly meant to be commercial messages. B3: A common ploy of spammers is to get you to register for access to their web site. They then claim an ongoing commercial relationship and they proceed to bombard you with email. Attempting to remove your name from their email list then simply validates that it is a "live" address, and it becomes even more valuable when the list is sold to other spammers. C1: Ten days is far too long for removal - it should be nearly instantaneous. The technology is already in use to allow automatic addition of a name to an email list, the same technology can be used to remove a name immediately. D1: I would suggest language that allows for the definition of new "aggravated violations" as they become prevalent, or better yet, as consumers complain about them. E.1: General comment: I should not have to submit an opt-out request to every potential business that might send commercial email. Rather, the onus should be on the senders to ensure that I have specifically asked them to send me a commercial message. In addition, if I electronically register a product warranty, or "establish a relationship" with a commercial entity, there should be no assumption that I want to receive email from them UNLESS it involves a mandated recall or something similar. I should not have to opt-out of every single electronic transaction. E.1.2: I believe that both the company that received the opt-out request AND the sender who may or may not have received the opt-out request are in violation. E.2: You folks have this whole thing backwards: I should not have to opt-out - rather, I should be able to opt-IN. Every piece of unsolicited email requires that I waste my time reading its subject (assuming it has one related to the contents of its message) and then deleting it. In addition, it takes some amount of connect time to download the message from my Internet provider - another economic burden that I must bear. Commercial email senders should be REQUIRED to prove that ALL recipients of their messages have asked to receive them. Simply visiting a web site and registering their email address does NOT constitute a request for email - especially if there is no provision on that web site to opt-out of those messages. E.3: Lack of a physical postal address, or the inclusion of a false physical postal address, should be considered fraudulent behavior and the sender should be charged with the same number of counts of fraud as the number of messages sent with the fraudulent information. F1: As I commented earlier, the whole concept of a Do Not Email Registry is backwards. Each individual sender of commercial email should be REQUIRED to prove that each recipient specifically ASKED to be included as a recipient. In addition, that proof MUST show that when the recipient's email address was obtained, that s/he was provided the opportunity to opt-out immediately. Perhaps the simplest way to accomodate this concept is that potential recipients be sent a message that they must reply to to confirm their willingness to receive email from that sender. If the recipient does not reply, then her/his email address is NOT added to the sender's list.