Spam Bill Revision Would Let Bulk E-Mailers Create Standards Group

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Self-policing would let bulk e-mailers be worry-free regarding penalties, according to a new provision in one of the leading bills in Congress that would crack down on spam.

According to reports, a revised draft of the bill would let bulk e-mailers form a self-regulatory group responsible for maintaining e-mail standards of conduct. The draft was being circulated to members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, according to the Associated Press.

Members of such a group, which would need approval by the Federal Trade Commission, would be exempt from penalties that could be applied to nonmembers.

Microsoft and other large e-mail account providers have expressed support for such a group, which would use an electronic seal of approval to help consumers identify e-mail sent by "legitimate" senders of commercial e-mail, the AP said.

Reps. Richard Burr, R-NC; W.J. "Billy" Tauzin, R-LA; and F. James Sensenbrenner Jr., R-WI, are the bill's sponsors.

Several consumer groups and anti-spam organizations as well as state prosecutors objected to the plan.

A spokesman for Tauzin said that self-regulation would improve the bill by creating a grievance process for individual consumers who might otherwise have trouble getting the attention of law enforcement authorities, according to AP.

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