|Received:||3/25/2004 11:49:34 AM|
|Agency:||Federal Trade Commission|
I have been using email technology since it was first available and in my field I teach technology to associates in my office and help with related issues. As a result, I feel somewhat more adept at understanding the issues raised here. I am opposed basically to this act as I feel you are taking the wrong road here. Email abuse should exclusively be considered a criminal act. At the same time, the public needs to take some responsibility as well. No matter what you try to do, you will not be able to regulate abusive email. Only until you arrest the abusers and make their penalties so harsh as to intimidate others from pursuing abusive behavior will anything truly change. It is so simple to hide in the world of email; it's simple to become invisible so to speak. The bottom line is that no matter what you do, those who wish to abuse can always do so and like the HIV virus, they will "mutate" their activities to avoid the law. Citizens need to take some responsibility and, in the case of pornography, use parental controls even when children are absent to cut down on such email. The only way to control it is to consider this a Federal Crime as well as a State Crime so that penalties from both with extremely harsh terms exists. This is a job also for the international community as email abuse comes and goes throughout the globe. If you allowed a penalty free zone for such websites to exist, then for those who wish they can go there. One of the terms of being in a penalty free environment would be to not email to solicit anyone. I'd encourage you to do this for pornography specifically and see if it works out. To burden everyone with well intentioned but thoroughly ineffective legislation is a mistake. You cannot regulate the internet for not all of the abuse comes from the US and the internet is truly borderless. I have websites for my business which are very well positioned; my incoming email averages 3-400 messages per hour 97% of which is junk email with about half being sexually related from viagra through the worst pornography. I would rather delete it as I do now than have cumbersome and ineffective regulation. Perhaps a bi-partisan approach to all major software vendors to devise a filtering program for national security would be the most wise of considerations. Built into this would be a filtering system for terrorist activity although I understand that a lot of what they did here was through wi-fi. At any rate, my opinion is that this act is horribly mis-guided and will impact those law abiding businesses and not affect those to whom it is supposed to target. Again, I consider email abuse a criminal act. With all due respect, you are also forgetting that email and websites are advertising and should be covered under each state's advertising regulations. This should really be sufficient for the situation. You should turn your attention from this act toward how to engage our brightest minds into a national email anti-spam technology. Imagine Microsoft, MacAfee and Symantec with other similarly capable corporations working together. A bi-partisan approach in this manner coupled with your recommendation to the Justice Dptmt to make this a Federal Crime focusing on pornography is the only tack to take.