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08 Oct 2005

California makes spam slightly more illegal, too Email

Two weeks ago California enacted a new SB 97, a new version of the 2003 spam law that was overridden by CAN SPAM before it went into effect. Both spam bills and the phishing bills were introducted by Sen. Kevin Murray, one of a handful of state legislators with an interest in online commerce.

The new law basically reconstitutes what it can of the old law that isn't preempted. CAN SPAM says states can make fraudulent e-mail more illegal, so that's what it does. If a commercial e-mail advertisement uses a third party domain name without permission, or has forged header information, or a misleading subject line, it's illegal in California. More interestingly, any of the recipient, the recipient ISP, or the Attorney General can sue for $1000 per message, up to a million dollars per incident.

To limit nuisance suits, the court can decrease the penalty to $100 and $100,000 if the defendant ``established and implemented, with due care, practices and procedures reasonably designed to effectively prevent unsolicited commercial e-mail advertisements that are in violation of this article.'' This is copied from the old law, but it seems pretty unlikely to be used. How likely is someone to have such policies and send fraudulent spam anyway?

Like the phishing law, this isn't going to make spam go away, but it does make small claims suits against California spammers possible, if there are any left.

posted at: 23:54 :: permanent link to this entry :: 2 comments
posted at: 23:54 ::
permanent link to this entry :: 2 comments

comments...        (Jump to the end to add your own comment)
Does this mean I can sue for big bucks every time I get a spoof or phishing email? I'll be RICH! - RICH I say!!!

(by prying1 04 Nov 2005 10:00)

Go ahead and sue
Yes, if you're in California you'll be able to sue for each phish. And if you can find the sender, serve papers, win the suit, and collect (all of which are of course trivially easy), you'll win bazillions. Let us know when we should show up for the party on your new yacht.

(by John L 04 Nov 2005 10:28)

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