Maryland state lawmakers Tuesday adopted a new bill with tough criminal penalties for major spammers that makes it the strongest, most comprehensive junk-email bill at the state level in the country.
The legislation was adopted by both the Maryland House and Senate late Monday evening in a flurry of activity as the legislative session drew to a close. The bills sponsors are State Delegate Neil F. Quinter (D-13; Howard County) and State Senator Robert J. Garagiola (D-15; Montgomery County).
It is the first, toughest, and most notable antispam bill to be adopted by any State Legislature in the nation since the federal “CAN-SPAM Act” went into effect on January 1st, 2004. This legislation, if signed into law by Maryland Governor Robert Ehrlich, would not be pre-empted by the federal antispam law and instead was carefully crafted to work in tandem with and complement the national law.
The Act contains provisions assessing the toughest criminal penalties against the most egregious, kingpin spammers who use outlaw tactics of deceit, fraud and evasion when sending junk email.
These criminal penalties, which can be pursued by state law enforcement agencies, include jail time of three, five or 10 years; stiff monetary penalties ranging from $5,000 to up to $25,000; and, asset forfeiture of spammer’s personal property.
The longer jail terms and higher fines would be triggered in the law by spammers who perpetrate more severe violations of the bill, repeated violations of the bill, and cross higher volume thresholds of junk email.
The Company strongly supports the bill’s ‘cutting-edge’ approach because it specifically prohibits the outlaw tactics that spammers are currently using to trick ISPs and consumers into opening their junk email, and it offers the best, most current definitions of these spammers’ tactics.