|Received:||4/13/2004 1:46:05 PM|
|State:||Not in the US|
|Agency:||Federal Trade Commission|
I am a journalist and author who has been covering the direct marketing industry, including e-mail and telephone marketing, since 1995. I strongly support creating the The Do Not E-Mail Registry in the CAN-SPAM ACT. I have also backed the recent Telemarketing Sales Rule amendments creating the national Do Not Call list. These regulations must be looked at for what they really are--virtual NO TRESPASSING signs. These acts require marketers to look up and see if the person has posted a NO TRESPASSING sign in the virtual space. They therefore protect marketers from legal action because it lets them know which "doors" to "knock" and which ones they shouldn't. The right to enjoy one's property is one of the oldest concepts in common law. The courts have upheld laws respecting an individual's right of privacy in their own homes. Unwanted electronic intrusion by phone, fax,e-mail, etc. represent a violation of that privacy--just as much as someone who ignores the NO TRESPASSING sign and knocks/rings their doorbell. Electronic intrusion, by unwanted e-mail has the potential to do just as much if not more damage than an interloper on your lawn. Viruses carried by spam can steal identities, leading to massive fraud and at minimum wipe out owners' computer systems. Given that CAN-SPAM is a NO TRESPASSING regulation all stipulations of it should be looked at it that way. In other words no different than whom constitutes a trespasser, etc. In view of that fact I recommend that the FTC recommend to lawmakers in all jurisdictions to update and amend their laws on trespassing to include electronic trespassing --along with laws on break-and-enter, burglary and larceny. With the same penalties. By using and extending existing felony statutes CAN-SPAM (along with the Telemarketing Sales Rule) would have teeth. There would be arrest warrants, jail times and criminal records. Spammers would be treated no differently than any other trespassers; if they entered computers with malicious intent i.e. with viruses they would be the same as someone who broke into a home or car for that same reason.