The strongest anti-spam legislation in the US has been approved in Ohio. The Substitute House Bill 383 promises up to 18 months jail time, fines and removal of property for anyone convicted of illegal spamming.
The Ohio house approved the bill which will now be passed to Governor Bob Taft to make it law.
It will come as good news to industry lobbyists who have been campaigning for a strengthening of US anti-spam laws. "CAN-SPAM isn't a deterrent to the real criminals," said Steve Linford, director of anti-spam service Spamhaus. "Spammers are getting not much more than a slap on the wrist then reoffending."
Under the new Ohio legislation anyone who sends five or more commercial emails and hides their origin could find themselves in trouble. It becomes a felony as soon as that volume reaches 250 in one day, 2,500 in a month or 25,000 over the year.
In contrast to the apparent strengthening of US law, on the tenth of December the UK's anti-spam law will reach its first birthday. So far, no criminals have been prosecuted. "Not one spammer has even received a letter," said Linford. "The law is completely ineffective."