President Signs Legislation Aiming to Stem Flood of Spam

President Bush signed legislation Tuesday meant to stem the flood of unwanted e-mail pitches, a problem he believes is hurting the economy.

“Spam, or unsolicited e-mails are annoying to consumers and costly to our economy,” White House spokesman Scott McClellan said after Bush signed the bill. “This will help address 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 bill was among seven Bush was signing during the day, measures that will also help needy families buy their first homes and give flight attendants lessons in self-defense.

In the Oval Office on Tuesday morning, Bush signed the so-called “can spam” legislation. Passed by Congress earlier this month, the measure outlaws the persistent techniques used by e-mailers who send tens of millions of messages each day to peddle their products and services.

The bill supplants anti-spam laws already passed in some states, including California. It also encourages the Federal Trade Commission to create a do-not-spam list of e-mail addresses and includes penalties for spammers of up to five years in prison in rare circumstances.

“Spam and unsolicited e-mails are annoying to consumers and are costly to U.S. business,” Claire Buchan, deputy White House press secretary said. “This legislation will help address the problems associated with the growth and abuse of spam.”

My guess is this won’t have a substantial impact on spam–they can always take it offshore–but it is brilliant politics.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.