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The ‘One Bite Of The Apple’ Problem

Ray Everett-Church of CAUCE writes regarding the latest US Senate anti-spam bill.

This bill simply creates a set of baseline standards for truthfulness, which if the spammer can meet, they can send as much spam as they wish. This characteristic, common to all the leading spam bills, makes it a gross misnomer to call them ‘anti-spam.’ ‘Anti-consumer,’ sure. ‘Pro-spam,’ even. But not ‘anti-spam.’

Any legislation that permits all of America’s estimated 23 million small businesses to legally send everyone at least one email cannot be considered anti-spam. And any bill that limits a consumer’s recourse to clicking an opt-out link 23 million times isn’t going to make our lives any better. By limiting enforcement to Attorneys General or the FTC, with no recourse for consumers, these bills virtually guarantee the status quo: extremely limited enforcement. Even the FTC and state AGs have said giving them more enforcement power without commensurate resources is a waste of time.

A good example of why opt-out does not work as a basis for anti-spam action; it permits every single potential sender to still spam you once, in full legality — what’s been called the ‘one bite of the apple’ problem.

Given that (as Ray says) there’s 23 million small businesses in the US, that’s a potential 23 million spams to your email address, and 23 million ‘remove’ requests you’d have to send to unsubscribe — every three years, to boot. Full open letter from CAUCE here.