Congress moved significantly closer to the first-ever federal protections against unwanted commercial e-mails with the House passing a bill Saturday that would impose new limits on sending irritating offers on the Internet. Final approval by lawmakers could come before Thanksgiving. The measure would outlaw the shadiest techniques used by many of the Internets most prolific e-mailers and include penalties up to five years in prison in rare circumstances. But it also would supplant even tougher anti-spam laws already passed in some states, including a California law scheduled to take effect Jan. 1. Passed on a 392-5 vote, the House bill largely mirrors "Can Spam" legislation the Senate approved last month. Supporters hoped slight differences between the two measures could be resolved before Congress adjourns for the year. The Bush administration has supported anti-spam efforts.
In a statement issued by the departments of Justice and Commerce, the administration said the bill "will help address some of the problems associated with the rapid growth and abuse of spam by establishing a framework of technological, administrative, civil, and criminal tools, and by providing consumers with options to reduce the volume of unwanted e-mail." The statement said the administration also believes anti-spam technology will need to improve. "Now we can go back to looking forward to opening our inboxes in the morning because well have notes from our friends rather than herbal supplements and mortgage offers," said Rep. Heather Wilson, R-N.M. Rep. John Dingell of Michigan, the senior Democrat on the Energy and Commerce Committee, called the effort "an important first step in restoring consumers" control over their inboxes."
News source: Yahoo News!