Hawaii Legislation on Anti-Spam Registry Dies

Rhett Pardon
HONOLULU — Hawaii’s proposed child protection registry that would make it unlawful to send adult email advertising has died in the Legislature.

SB 2200 would have made it a felony to send messages advertising adult content or related links to a registered email recipient and authorized civil penalties of $5,000 per message.

“Right now, we are not going to introduce any new legislation like SB 2200 during this term,” Sen. Carol Fukunaga told XBIZ. “Currently, there is no vehicle like this bill.”

Two other states — Michigan and Utah — already have imposed sanctions on bulk emailers that send sexually explicit matter over the web to those registered on the states’ respective databases.

Despite dying in Legislature, the Hawaii bill was heavily criticized by the Federal Trade Commission in a letter obtained by XBIZ.

The FTC commission voted 5-0 to advocate against the bill in a letter dated March 31.

The FTC said the legislation was faulty because existing security Internet techniques are inadequate to prevent the abuse of such a registry and would impose substantial costs on legitimate email marketers.

Regulators also said that such a registry could provide pedophiles with a list of contact points for Hawaii children and that it would be unlikely to reduce the amount of email spam received by registered email addresses.

Further, the FTC said that because such a registry cannot be effectively monitored for abuse, it may have the unintended consequence of providing spammers with a mechanism for verifying the validity of email addresses.

“This consequence may actually increase the amount of spam sent to registered children’s addresses in general, including spam containing adult content,” the letter said.