|Received:||5/20/2005 9:40:27 PM|
|Organization:||Citizen of the United States of America|
|Agency:||Federal Trade Commission|
|Rule:||Definitions, Implementation, and Reporting Requirements Under the CAN-SPAM Act|
Comments:Section 7704(c)(1) authorizes the Commission to adopt a rule modifying the ten-business-day period senders (and those acting on their behalf) have under the Act to process recipients' "opt-out" requests with respect to "commercial electronic mail messages." Section 7711(a) gives the FTC discretionary authority to "issue regulations to implement the provisions of the Act." HISTORY: The original 10-day rule for address changes and removal was to accomodate paper-mail-based systems using preprinted labels, pre-addressed envelopes, or "Address-o-Graph" automation driven from plastic plates, metal plates, magnetic tape, punched cards, punched paper tape, or other batch-oriented physical media. The nature of electronic mail is that "applying the label" occurs in real time, from a database queried at the time the mailpiece is transmitted, perhaps over an Internet network connection between locations. There is no advanced preparation required as was necessary for paper mail. Furthermore, there are well-known methods for applying removal requests in real time, without any human intervention. The mail managers "Major Domo" and "Mailman" are open-source software implementations of e-mail management systems that are widely avaiable. PROPOSAL ONE: Given the widespread availability for low-cost, high-speed implementations, I would suggest that the FTC adopt a reaction time limit of: 15 minutes for electronic removal requests; 48 hours for faxed or telegraphed requests starting from time of transmission; two days for overnight-courier-delivered requests; and, five days for requests sent by the U.S. Mail. PROPOSAL TWO: In addition to specific e-mail addresses to which to stop delivery, owners of Internet domain names must be able to stop delivery to ALL addresses for a given domain. The regulations may limit this right to the domain owner or administrator of record in the WHOIS database entry for the domain name. Such a domain-wide prohibition would cancel permission for any individual address in the domain. Those individual e-mail address owners wishing to opt back in may do so. PROPOSAL THREE: To aid individuals and domain name owners to opt out of electronic mailings without having to handle messages one by one (the author gets roughtly 300 unwanted mail messages a day), the FTC must adopt rules that require bulk mailers to register their bulk operations, and to provide their electronic opt-out method in a form that can be parsed by computer. This would be in place of a Do Not E-Mail database, to which many voices have objected. By providing such a database, any opt-out request may have a limited life, of one year, which may be renewed by reregistering with each bulk mail operator. (END PROPOSALS) I believe that the suggestions in my three proposals strike a balance. On the one hand, you have the mailers. On the other hand, you have the receivers of the mail, and the service providers who have to deal with the mail and charge the receivers the costs of dealing with the flood. Unwanted mail costs money...but not to the mailer. This is unlike all other delivery systems for advertising, where the sender pays or the receiver gets other consideration (think TV ads for programs). Imagine what would happen if every man, woman, and child in the United States sent 100 letters to the FTC every calendar day. That is the scope of the problem.