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Friday, March 19, 2004 - Page updated at 12:00 A.M.

Report: anti-spam law having little effect

By The Associated Press

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PORTLAND — A new federal law designed to halt e-mail spam has not had much effect on most Americans' computer inboxes, according to a new report by the Pew Internet & American Life Project.

The survey, which surveyed 1,371 Internet users, was taken only weeks after the federal bill became law, slightly blunting the survey results.

But some critics say the report supports their argument that more stringent anti-spam laws are necessary than those laid out in the bill written by Sens. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Conrad Burns, R-Mont.

The February survey found that of people with personal e-mail accounts, 24 percent said they received more spam since Jan. 1, 20 percent reported receiving less spam, and 53 percent haven't noticed a change.

The study noted one positive result: Of those who have received pornographic spam, 25 percent received less since Jan. 1, 16 percent are getting more, and 56 percent noticed no change.

Under Wyden's law, if e-mail marketers do not let recipients opt out of future bulk e-mail messages, marketers face hefty penalties.

Wyden has said that to stem the tide of spam, his law must be combined with anti-spam technology, cooperation with governments of foreign countries where spam is generated and aggressive enforcement by the Federal Trade Commission and state attorneys general.


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