05/02 2003 – If you’re planning a career as a spamhouse operator, don’t move to Virginia. Here is a report straight from the legal news letter at out-law.com:
The toughest anti-spam law in the US came into force on Tuesday when Virginia Governor Mark Warner signed two bills creating a maximum prison term of five years for those convicted of clogging inboxes with unsolicited commercial e-mail.
Governor Warner ceremonially signed the bills at the world headquarters of America Online in Dulles. He observed:
”Half the world’s internet traffic passes through the Commonwealth of Virginia, so it is appropriate that we give our prosecutors tools to go after this costly and annoying crime”.
Recent studies by Jupiter Research suggest that the ordinary American will receive over 2,200 spam messages per year; and in the UK, the Government has estimated that 40% of all e-mail messages are spam. Some experts warn that spam volumes will double in the next six months.
There are still no federal laws against spam in the US. But this week, Virginia became the first of 26 states with ant-spam laws to introduce custodial sentences for the worst offenders. As Governeor Warner observed, ”the civil approach has not resulted in curtailing the practice.”
To qualify for the felony provisions the sender must:
- consciously (with intent) alter either e-mail header or other routing information (a technical characteristics common to most unsolicited bulk mail, but not present in normal e-mail messages); and
- attempt to send either 10,000 messages within a 24/hr period or 100,000 in a 30-day period or the sender must generate $1,000 in revenue from a specific transmission, or $50,000 from total transmissions.
The new law becomes effective on 1st July.