Michigan Ready to Toughen Spam Rule

Rhett Pardon
LANSING, Mich. — A bill on the Michigan governor's desk would create a registry of children's email addresses and prohibit the sending of messages about adult products to those addresses.

Gov. Jennifer Granholm is expected to sign the bill next week that would make Michigan the second state to make it illegal to send pornographic email. Utah was the first state to adopt a registry.

The bill allows parents to declare their children’s email addresses off-limits to certain types of spam.

“The Internet is such an unknown frontier, it very much intimidates parents looking to protect kids,” Sen. Mike Bishop, the bill’s sponsor, says. “There’s so much filth and garbage that comes right at them.”

The law would create a state-run registry of email addresses for children submitted by parents. It will be illegal to send pitches for porn, gambling, tobacco, drugs or any products children can’t legally purchase. Violators could be fined $5,000 per email and forfeit their computers.

Fines would pay to operate the list and prosecutions. The list probably won’t be running until next year, Bishop said.

The federal Can-Spam law took effect in January and criminalizes fraudulent pitches, and sexually oriented messages that aren’t clearly marked.

Michigan and 32 other states already have anti-spam laws on the books.