America Online, Inc. released the following statement upon the signing of the new Ohio antispam bill by Governor Taft at a Statehouse ceremony this afternoon in Columbus:
“AOL and its Ohio-based subsidiary, CompuServe, applaud Governor Taft, State Representative Walcher, and State Senator Amstutz for giving our members – and law enforcement – in the Buckeye State yet another powerful weapon in the fight against spam and spammers. Ohio is taking exactly the right approach by targeting the devious, duplicitous, and deceptive practices used by kingpin spammers to get junk email into the email inboxes of online consumers everywhere. This approach applies appropriate, harsh criminal penalties – jail time – in addition to fines and asset forfeiture for violating antispam laws. The new Ohio antispam law is a huge pro-consumer milestone in protecting consumers on the Internet. And it sends an important signal to junk emailers everywhere in the nation: Ohio won’t hesitate to send spammers to the slammer.
“AOL supported the Ohio law from the very moment it was introduced almost exactly one year ago, joining with state lawmakers at a Statehouse press conference in late January 2004 to unveil the new bill. Throughout the legislative process, AOL provided feedback and input to help usher the bill forward. This is the same approach AOL has now successfully used in Virginia in early 2003, and in Maryland in early 2004. AOL has also supported efforts to attempt to enact antispam legislation in other states, such as Minnesota, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and elsewhere. As other spam bills are introduced that mirror the successful state bills in Ohio, Maryland and Virginia, AOL will offer its endorsement and resources in an effort to protect its members from the scourge of spam and the fraudulent tactics used by spammers.”
In late December, AOL announced that junk email on its service had declined by over 75% in the past year according to member reports – and that the tide of spam had been halted and reversed for the first time since 1999. At the time, AOL cited – in part – that new federal and state antispam laws and enforcement actions were having a deterrent effect on spam levels and spammers.