Virginia enacts tough anti-spam law

— 3:14 AM on April 30, 2003

Tired of sifting through an inbox littered with spam? Lawmakers in Virginia feel your pain. They've passed a new law that would make some spammers criminals:

The new statute adds criminal penalties for fraudulent, high-volume spammers. It outlaws practices like forging the return address line of an e-mail message or hacking a computer to send spam surreptitiously. Those found guilty of sending more than 10,000 such deceptive e-mail messages in one day would be subject to a prison term of one to five years and forfeiture of profits and assets connected with these activities.
Virginia's governor claims that the law can be applied to any Internet traffic that passes through the state, which is good news for victims and bad news for spammers.

Virginia isn't the only state with anti-spam legislation, but this latest law is definitely the strongest legal deterrent I've seen. Of course, there are some that would argue that even Virginia's new law doesn't go far enough. Many are in favor of a national "Do not spam" list, which sounds like a good idea to me. However, as attractive as many anti-spam laws and regulations are, I'm not sure how effective they'll be at blocking bulk emails originating from foreign countries.

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