Georgia Governor Pitches Tough Anti-Spam Bill

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People in Georgia sending spam could face up to five years in prison and a $50,000 fine if the governor gets his way.

Gov. Sonny Perdue proposed stiff penalties yesterday against spammers sending more than 10,000 false or misleading messages a day. The Georgia Slam Spam E-Mail Act also would hit spammers with felony charges if they generate large amounts of money through spam or use minors to help them send the e-mails. The bill also calls for misdemeanor penalties of up to a year in prision and $1,000 in fines for minor violations.

"I urge the General Assembly to pass the Slam Spam E-Mail Act so that Georgians can once again check their e-mail without having to wade through a cesspool of spam," Perdue said in a statement.

The governor announced the proposal at the Atlanta headquarters of EarthLink, which endorsed the bill.

The bill defines spam as commercial e-mail that makes false promises or is misleading, including messages with false headers that trick people into thinking the message is personal. It would let ISPs like EarthLink and domain owners bring charges against spammers that use their services.

"The governor's initiative gives EarthLink and other businesses throughout Georgia an important new tool for shutting down rogue, spam e-mailers," EarthLink president/CEO Garry Betty said in a statement.

The legislation would work in tandem with the federal CAN-SPAM Act. EarthLink has filed lawsuits using CAN-SPAM as well as other state and federal laws.

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