AOL and State Seek Stronger Anti-Spam Law 

The bill, sponsored by Delegate Harvey B. Morgan, R-Gloucester, adds language to the Virginia Anti-Spamming Act to allow the state to prosecute businesses that hire professional spam companies.

"That minor tweak will allow us to get at companies that are not covered under the current law," says Lisa Hicks-Thomas, director of the computer-crimes unit of the attorney general's office. "We believe this will act as a deterrent … or they [the businesses] might be more careful about the marketing companies they hire."

Businesses successfully prosecuted under the act could be fined up to $25,000 a day.

Online giant AOL, based in Northern Virginia, has been working closely with the AG's office to get the bill passed. Unwanted e-mail ads have bedeviled AOL for years. The company says its customers report 2 million unwanted messages a day.

It's not just a nuisance, AOL and other Internet service providers say — all that data is bogging down their computer servers and costing them millions to combat.

AOL has used the current law successfully in Virginia. In December, AOL won a $6.9 million judgment against a company accused of sending more than a billion junk e-mail messages advertising online porn sites.

"This 'reach-through' provision will let ISPs [Internet service providers] go after more of the people who are causing the problem," says Doug Koelemay, a lobbyist for AOL and other technology companies. He compares the proposal to federal RICO anti-crime statutes.

A message requesting comment from the Direct Marketing Association, which represents direct-mail businesses of all kinds, was not returned.

— Greg Weatherford


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Connect with Style Weekly

Most Popular Stories

  • Find Your Scent

    Find Your Scent

    New custom candle-making company in Midlothian allows customers to craft their own scented products.
    • Apr 27, 2021
  • Elephants on a Wire

    Elephants on a Wire

    A crowded field of Republican gubernatorial candidates embraces ranked voting in a battle for the soul of their party.
    • May 4, 2021
  • Vote Now

    Vote Now

    Vote for your favorites in the 2021 Best Of Richmond
    • May 1, 2021
  • Site Unseen

    Site Unseen

    Hidden in Plain Site virtually highlights Richmond’s often neglected Black history.
    • Apr 27, 2021
  • More »

Copyright © 2021 Style Weekly
Richmond's alternative for news, arts, culture and opinion
All rights reserved
Powered by Foundation