Connecticut House passes bill regulating junk e-mail

Tuesday, June 1, 1999

The Connecticut House has unanimously passed a bill designed to crack down on unsolicited commercial e-mail, or spam.

The measure, introduced in January by Rep. Paul Doyle, makes it a misdemeanor to send unsolicited electronic mail ads with fraudulent data in the routing information.

The bill specifies that it is unlawful to “falsify or forge electronic mail transmission or other routing information in any manner in connection with the transmission of unsolicited bulk electronic mail through or into the computer network of an electronic mail service provider or its subscribers.”

The prohibitions against false commercial e-mail represent part of a larger measure forbidding “unauthorized use of a computer and other computer offenses.”

Any person injured as a result of unsolicited bulk e-mail may sue in state court to recover “reasonable attorneys’ fees” and damages of $10 for each unsolicited bulk electronic mail message, up to $25,000.

The measure provides that injured parties cannot sue electronic mail service providers that merely transmit the unsolicited bulk electronic mail over their computer networks.

“This is landmark legislation for the state,” Doyle said in a news release. “We will lead by example. We have the right to reject this form of junk mail and now we have a means to do that.”

The measure now goes to the Connecticut Senate.

A few other states — including Nevada, Washington, California and Virginia — have already passed forms of anti-spam legislation.

The U.S. Senate is also considering measures to regulate unsolicited commercial e-mail.