Md. spam penalties would double with Can-Spam conviction

Maryland and Ohio are considering tough new antispam legislation despite December's passage of a federal antispam law.

The Maryland General Assembly today is hearing testimony about Senate bill 604, the Maryland Spam Control Act, sponsored by Sen. Robert J. Garagiola, and the related House of Delegates bill 1320, sponsored by Del. Neil F. Quinter.

Both bills are modeled on April 2003 amendments Virginia made to its 1984 Computer Crimes Act, a Garagiola spokeswoman said, and both would impose jail time up to five years plus monetary fines for felony convictions, as well as civil penalties.

The jail time and fines would double for a spammer convicted under the federal Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act or any other state's antispam law.

Internet provider America Online Inc. is supporting the Maryland bills plus Ohio legislation modeled on Virginia's law and sponsored by Rep. Kathleen Walcher.

Virginia has brought felony indictments and multimillion-dollar judgments against interstate spammers using AOL. Garagiola's spokeswoman said the Maryland proposals are crafted to avoid pre-emption by Can-Spam.

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