Weird Anti-Spam Law Proposed In Georgia

from the success-breeds-legal-trouble dept

While CAN SPAM supposedly supersedes all state level anti-spam laws, states keep coming up with anti-spam laws anyway. Considering how weak CAN SPAM is, this is probably a good thing. However, the latest proposed anti-spam law in Georgia appears to have some strange provisions. It counts forging headers, misleading subject lines or falsely claiming an email was requested as the defining characteristics of spam. That “misleading subject line” could be twisted in a bad way. From there, though, the crime will be considered a felony if the spammer sent more than 10,000 messages in a 24 hour period, generated more than $1,000 in revenue from a single spam message or $50,000 from all spam sent or if the spammer “knowingly uses a minor to assist in the transmission of spam.” Those last two provisions are what caught my attention. Should the amount of money made by the spammer impact what level of crime they’re charged with? The crime isn’t in selling a product, but the manner in which they are bombarding servers and users. Why should it matter how successful the particular spam is? If anything, this opens things up to a counter claim from the spammer that if they’re making this much money off a single spam, then it’s clear that people wanted the emails — and thus, it’s not spam. Also, it’s not clear why the “use of a minor” in sending spam should make it any worse. I didn’t realize spammers have been using child laborers to help them out. Shouldn’t that just fall under child labor laws?

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Comments on “Weird Anti-Spam Law Proposed In Georgia”

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DV Henkel-Wallace says:


I assume the $50K provision is to make the cops pay attention…and to suggest that you must have done a lot of spamming to get to that level.

The kids example makes sense too: if spamming is illegal then you don’t want people encouraging minors (who are considered by the law to be malleable and have inferior judgement to adults) to break the law.

Griffon says:

No Subject Given

It’s normal to separate the severity of many crimes by the amount of money or damage involved. I agree that it might not be the best tact in the case of spam but I can see how somebody setting it down on paper would get there. Generally anything involving amounts over 5k is considered a felony vs. a misdemeanor in larceny cases (just for example). I do like that they are making it a more serious crime rather then simple leaving it open to civil action.

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