Florida Governor Signs Spam Bill

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Florida became the latest state to enact legislation against deceptive e-mail practices this week, when Gov. Jeb Bush signed into law legislation to allow the state attorney general to sue.

S.B. 2574 empowers the state attorney general to sue senders using deceptive subject lines, false routing information or misuse of a third-party domain for penalties of up to $500 per deceptive message. The law also allows suits against advertisers in e-mails bearing deceptive subject lines.

The attorney general can bring suits against companies sending messages from Florida or to computers in Florida. It takes effect July 1.

The federal CAN-SPAM Act, which went into effect Jan. 1, pre-empted the nearly three dozen state anti-spam laws on the books, yet it allowed states to enforce fraud statutes. Maryland Gov. Robert Ehrlich yesterday signed into law legislation carrying criminal penalties for deceptive tactics. The law was pushed by AOL, which sponsored similar legislation in Virginia. AOL hopes Ohio and Minnesota soon pass identical laws.

California lawmakers considering a law that would give recipients of fraudulent e-mail could sue for up to $1,000 in damages per e-mail, with a maximum award of $1 million.

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