Senate Votes for Tough Limits on Spam

The Senate agreed Wednesday to impose tough new limits on the irritating but lucrative business of e-mailing unwanted sales pitches to millions of people in the United States.

Internet users have complained about mailboxes clogged with offers for prescription drugs, cheap loans, herbal remedies and pornography.

The Senate voted 97-0 to approve the "Can Spam" bill. The measure outlaws the shadiest techniques used by many of the Internet's most prolific e-mailers, who pump out millions of unsolicited messages daily. Despite the vote, senators cautioned computer users not to expect an immediate end to overflowing inboxes.

The bill would create a "do-not-spam" list, similar to the recent do-not-call list for telemarketers that -- judging by the new-found silence of my phone -- seems to have worked.

Potential problems include a pattern of inactivity on such bills in the House, and the fact that many states already have such legislation which, in some cases, is much stronger than the proposed federal bill. Details here from the AP.