Monday, July 29, 2002

States tackle elusive spam

The Associated Press

        COLUMBUS - After someone relayed thousands of pornographic e-mails through a client's Internet connections, Barry Hassler was happy to support an Ohio bill trying to crack down on unwanted e-mail known as spam. But Mr. Hassler has doubts about the effectiveness of the legislation he supported.

        “It's hard to track down the real source of this information to be able to prosecute someone,” said Mr. Hassler, founder of HCST, an Internet service provider in Dayton.

        Ohio and other states are rushing to enact laws cracking down on spam even as some technology experts and state officials question the laws' effectiveness.

        Anti-spam legislation was introduced in at least 30 states in 2002, with laws passed by Kansas, Maryland, Minnesota, South Dakota and Utah, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

        Gov. Bob Taft is scheduled to sign Ohio's anti-spam law Thursday.

        Ohio's bill doesn't attempt to ban spam, but would levy a fine of $100 per unwanted e-mail up to a total of $50,000.


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