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Sunday, May 19, 2002

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Disguising Motion as Activity

In an unprecedented flurry of activity, to demonstrate their understanding of the Internet, the World Wide Web, and not to appear like total idiots, the US Senate is moving forward in a pair of bold initiatives to tame rampant solicitation, and curbing online businesses practice of passing your personal information around like a cheap whore's phone number.

Both are doomed to failure and you will be screwed again.

First up is an bill to stop unsolicited email aka 'spam'. According to a Reuters story;

It would strengthen the Federal Trade Commission's enforcement authority by allowing it to impose fines of up to $10 per e-mail on e-mails that violate existing laws against spam -- with a cap of $500,000. [1]

Don't hold your breath. This is grandstanding. There is no companion legislation in the House of Representatives. Without the House, committee meetings, floor votes, conferences, and amendments to either water it down to nothing, or adding a bridge or some other 'public works' pork barrel project for a key vote, this is going nowhere.

I noted this Last Year. It was called HR 718. Yep, it was a House Bill.

What happened?

H.R.718 Sponsor: Rep Wilson, Heather(introduced 2/14/2001) Latest Major Action: 6/5/2001 House preparation for floor. Latest Status: Placed on the Union Calendar, Calendar No. 43.

The Union Calendar is the list of bills available for consideration in the Committee of the Whole. There is no requirement to consider anything on the calendar. This way your congress critters can say that the legislation is alive, but they don't have to do anything else, like actually pass them.

The elected representatives sent to Congress to conduct the people's business, do not. The most telling example of this is the last 4 words on every bill that ends up in a position to become law;
"and for other purposes"

Other purposes? Hello? What part of single issue, single law, seems to be the problem?

The US Senate sent an Online Privacy bill to the floor for debate. This is another grandstanding stunt. No companion legislation. (see above)

But opponents, which include much of the high-tech industry as well as financial services and advertising groups, say the proposal unfairly sets a higher standard for online commerce than for traditional "bricks and mortar" companies.

Higher standards of course are bad things. Business having already established that 'Customer Service' is an oxymoron and their total lack of rudimentary communication skills on the web, like contact information or email addresses point out that you are a chump whose sole purpose is to cough up cash in response to an unsolicited offer paid for by a company who really doesn't give a shit what you really need or if you do have a few extra bucks, want.

[1] Senate Panel Backs Bill Against E-Mail Spam
read here - go there
Source: reuters.com

Online Privacy Bill Sent to Senate Floor
read here - go there
Source: reuters.com

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CodeBitch
CodeBitch is the grumpy cow who does the HTML production for MacEdition.

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Eldred v. Ashcroft - Eldred Legal Defense Fund

Here is where to send money.

"Eldred Legal Defense Fund"
Lawrence Lessig
Stanford Law School
Crown Quadrangle
559 Nathan Abbott Way
Stanford, CA 94305-8610

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