Sunday, April 14, 2024

Debunking the Misinformation: U.S. Senate Bill 1618 and Email Spam

The Myth of Compliance with Senate Bill 1618

You might have come across email solicitations stating their compliance with a so-called “email bill section 301.” The emails suggest that as long as an option to unsubscribe is provided, they’re not spam. But what’s the real story?

Delving into the Details of Senate Bill 1618

U.S. Senate Bill 1618, known as the Anti-slamming Amendments Act, indeed had a Section 301. This section pertained to unsolicited commercial electronic mail. The bill was approved by the U.S. Senate on May 12, 1998, and later referred to the House Committee on Commerce on October 21, 1998. Contrary to what many might believe, the bill never passed. It died in the committee, and neither the 105th Congress nor the 106th Congress approved similar legislation. This is verifiable both via U.S. Senate records and inquiries with Senate representatives.

Why The Mentioned Email Compliance is Incorrect

The compliance claims circulating in emails are erroneous on multiple fronts:

  1. The Bill’s Status: The bill never became law.
  2. Misrepresentation of Requirements: If hypothetically the bill had passed, many emails referencing it fail to meet its stipulations.

For clarity, the exact conditions under SEC. 301 of this bill for unsolicited commercial emails were:

  • Initiator’s Details: Including the name, physical address, email address, and phone number of the person initiating the transmission.
  • Content Creator’s Details: If different from the initiator, their name, address, email, and phone number.
  • Unsubscribe Information: A clear method for recipients to stop further emails by replying with the word ‘remove’ in the subject line.

Surprisingly, very few, if any, emails citing this non-existent law provide these details.

The Perils of Relying on Misinformation

Spreading this type of false information has a domino effect. Just like chain mails claiming Microsoft will pay you for forwards, it gains traction until people believe it’s true.

Using this alleged “Law” to send unsolicited emails doesn’t change their nature. They remain spam. This misuse questions the trustworthiness of senders, making one ponder the legitimacy of their offers.

While email marketing has its merits, the misuse of non-existent laws isn’t one of them. As recipients, being informed and discerning can help avoid falling for these tricks.

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