TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Michigan and Utah Launch Email Registries

Michigan and Utah Launch Email Registries

Lisa Minter (
Wed, 29 Jun 2005 23:34:16 -0500

By DAVID EGGERT, Associated Press Writer

Two states are on the verge of trying to block porn and other
inappropriate messages sent to children through e-mail, but critics
question how the laws will be enforced and predict they could have
unintended consequences.

Michigan and Utah have until Friday to create and operate registries
of e-mail addresses similar to "do-not-call" lists. Businesses will
have to buy copies of the registries and face prison time and fines if
they send e-mail to any addresses that parents submit. The registries
also can include instant-message addresses, cell phones and pager

Parry Aftab, an Internet safety expert with, said the
laws were well-intentioned but flawed.

"Anytime anyone starts collecting lists of children, it's subject to
hacking and misuse," Aftab said. "The last thing I want is anyone to
have a large database of children."

As with other Internet laws, critics say the registries probably won't
have much effect -- largely because anti-spam laws have been difficult
to enforce. Spam often originates from outside the country and from
other states.

The Institute for Spam and Internet Public Safety, which runs
conferences and other programs on e-mail marketing, is concerned that
commercial e-mailers don't know about the laws.

"We've talked with several top-tier e-mail marketing firms and e-mail
service providers and they were all just stunned to learn that they
need to start scrubbing their mailing lists against these registries
next month or face criminal sanctions," said Anne Mitchell, the
group's president.

Copyright 2005 The Associated Press.

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