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Senate approves antispam bill

The U.S. Senate voted Wednesday to outlaw deceptive spam and to set up a "do not spam" registry for those who do not want to receive unsolicited commercial e-mail. Internet spammers who flood e-mail inboxes with pornography and get-rich-quick schemes could face jail time and million-dollar fines under the bill, which passed by a vote of 97 to 0. The vote marks the first time the Senate has taken action against an online scourge that now accounts for 50 percent of all e-mail traffic, frustrating consumers and costing businesses billions of dollars in wasted bandwidth and lost productivity.

Similar legislation in the House of Representatives has stalled as lawmakers have tried hammering out differences between two competing bills. The Bush administration said it supported the bill. Senators noted that spam has become a top constituent concern and could overwhelm the Internet if left unchecked. "Every day the Senate delays, big-time spammers (get) another opportunity to crank up their operations to even more dizzying levels of volume," said Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., a sponsor of the bill.

"I don't go to a town hall meeting, I don't meet a friend who doesn't say, 'Take care of that spam,'" said Sen. Conrad Burns, R-Mont., another bill sponsor. The bill would not outlaw all unsolicited commercial e-mail, focusing instead on the fraudulent or deceptive messages estimated to make up two-thirds of all unsolicited commercial e-mail.

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News source: news.com

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