The FCC finally came out with guidelines in implementing the Junk Fax Prevention Act of 2005. Depending on whom you talk to, it either opens the floodgates for more junk faxes or radically limits it. At issue is the requirement that a sender of commercial faxes has an existing business relationship with the receiver. Some worry that this could be defined liberally, so that anyone who looked at a company's website could claim a "relationship", but the definition found in the FCC directive (warning .pdf) appears to clearly define this as some sort of transaction, or two-way communication based on sales of products or services. It specifies that an inquiry pertaining to, say, the location of a store doesn't qualify. It also specifies that the receiver can request a stop to the faxes at any time, though "opt out" solutions haven't been too popular in the past. The issue of junk faxes, which hasn't gotten as much attention as spam, has been a legal issue for some time, with The Congress having taken up the issue a couple of years ago. While the latest FCC ruling looks like a positive step, it's clear that legislative solutions can be pretty complicated. Also, with the ability to send faxes over the internet, this probably won't do much to prevent fax spam from overseas.
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