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The Problem | A Solution | The Dangers | Who We Are | How You Can Help | Contact Us | Latest News
"Spamming is the scourge of electronic-mail and newsgroups on the Internet. It can seriously interfere with the operation of public services, to say nothing of the effect it may have on any individual's e-mail mail system. ... Spammers are, in effect, taking resources away from users and service suppliers without compensation and without authorization."
-- Vint Cerf, Senior Vice President, MCI
and acknowleged "Father of the Internet"
(quote used with permission)
The Problem: Unsolicited commercial email (UCE), more commonly known as "spam," is a growing problem on the Internet. If you have used the Internet for any length of time, you have probably received solicitations via email to purchase products or services.
It is not as simple as just clicking the "Delete" key. Junk email shifts the costs of advertising from the advertiser to the recipient. With one simple email account, a junk emailer can send one message to millions of recipients, turning that message into hundreds, even thousands of Megabytes of data. While it may only cost a junk mailer a tiny amount to send the UCE, it costs individuals and their Internet Service Providers countless millions of dollars in lost time, lost money, extra staff hours, damaged equipment, lost productivity, and lost business opportunities. And it's pretty aggravating too.
Need more details? Read more about The Problem.
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A Solution: CAUCE is a group of Internet users who are fed up with spam and have formed a coalition to promote legislation which would outlaw UCE. There is already a US law, 47 USC 227, that bans unsolicited "junk faxes." The Coalition Against Unsolicited Commercial Email (CAUCE) wrote an amendment which would extend that law to cover unsolicited ads by electronic mail.
Working closely with Rep. Christopher Smith (NJ), CAUCE's proposed language was incoporated in his bill H.R. 1748, "The Netizens Protection Act of 1997" which was introduced in May 1997. Within only three short months of CAUCE's creation, our ideas had been introduced in Congress and had gained strong bipartisan support which is growing daily.
This proposal is unique. Unlike other efforts at "net regulation," this law targets only one particular type of email -- unsolicited commercial advertisements -- and is enforceable by the CONSUMER, not by any government agency. The proposal is also unique because of the people who wrote it: The founders of CAUCE are long-time Net Activists -- real "Netizens" -- who understand the power of this medium and the dangers of massive, uncontrolled Internet abuse. We're not a big corporation with a hidden marketing agenda; we're not morality crusaders with little Internet knowledge and a political ax to grind.
For regular updates on legislative developments and other CAUCE activities, see our Latest News.
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The Dangers: Powerful forces are marching teams of lobbyists and spending lots of money to preserve their "right" to fill your email box with junk. In response to CAUCE's efforts, these pro-spam interests are fighting back with competing bills in Congress. DO NOT BE FOOLED!
These "solutions to spam" are supported by the junk emailers and pro-junk mail forces. They will mean more spam in your mailbox -- not less!
- The Torricelli Bill, S.875. Written by the Direct Marketing Association, this bill would legalize UCE and make recipients "opt out" every time a marketer sends them spam. This proposal has several constitutional problems as well.
- The Murkowski Bill, S.771. Supported by many junk email organizations, this bill would legalize UCE and would force Internet Service Providers to install spam filters, or face prosecution and fines. (Filters create a tremendous drag on server resources, making email delivery slower and sometimes causing the loss of legitimate email.) Government agencies would enforce this law.
- The Tauzin Bill, H.R. 2368. Supported by the Direct Marketing Association, this bill creates a "panel" of marketing organizations and industry associations to create so-called "responsible" email marketing policies. Adherence to these policies will be strictly voluntary by spammers and would otherwise allow them to continue sending UCE.
In short, CAUCE believes that the Smith Bill is the only law that will actually stop UCE rather than make the problem worse. For more about these bills, see our Bill Analysis Page. For more about why "filtering" and "opt out" make the UCE problem worse, see our Frequently Asked Questions.
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Who We Are: CAUCE is an all-volunteer, ad hoc coalition of Internet users, network technology professionals, and Internet Service Provider administrators. CAUCE's founders are the people at the front lines of the junk email war.
CAUCE members have testified at government hearings about the problems of UCE, and CAUCE representatives have appeared in seminars, news articles, and on television, talking about the growing danger to the Internet infrastructure. CAUCE accepts no money! We are not in this for money. We are all volunteers! CAUCE's representatives receive no compensation for this work. As the founders of CAUCE, we make our livings using the Internet for commercial purposes. But unlike the junk emailers, we pay our own way.
Need more info? Read more About Us.
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How You Can Help:
Contact Congress! Without a doubt, the most important thing you can do is to contact your Members of Congress by POSTAL mail. Yes, yes, you will have to lick a stamp, but very few Congressional offices have reliable email service, and fewer still have any means of keeping track of voter opinion by email. Visit our Contact Congress page for more information on how to do it and what kinds of things you should emphasize.
Join CAUCE! It costs nothing. By joining, you will receive a newsletter via email (but only if you choose to receive it), keeping you up to date on the current activities, as well as information on how you can help! What's the catch? Our greatest tool on Capitol Hill is our constituency -- our Members. In order to show Members of Congress that real people are in favor of this law, we will need some basic contact info such as your address and Congressional District. This information is kept in a secure database and will not be released to any parties except your Members of Congress.
Organizations and Companies can Join CAUCE! If your company or organization has had problems with junk email, or if you simply support responsible Internet Commerce and the principles of open networks and interoperability, please urge them to share their concerns with Members of Congress. See our Organizational Membership page for more information.
Promote CAUCE! Tell the world that you support an end to Junk Email by mentioning CAUCE in your email signature line, or by adding a CAUCE graphic and link on your web page. Check our our promotion page for sample graphics and signature blocks.
See CAUCE's Membership Statistics! Sorted by State & Congressional District! PLEASE NOTE: The membership stats pages uses Microsoft's "Active Server Pages" which require "cookies" to facilitate queries to the membership database! The cookies return no personally identifiable information about the user and automatically deletes itself after a few minutes. However, if cookies concern you, please do not use the membership statistics pages.
International Readers! We are very pleased to have your input and support of our efforts. However, because our efforts are currently focused on US legislation, the membership page is geared for US voters only. If you wish to, please help Promote CAUCE!
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Tell Others! Tell other Internet users about CAUCE; put it in your signature, link to it from your web page (Check out the Link Buttons!), and encourage others to do so. We don't have to tell you not to spam it, right?
Check Current Events! We have all the current activities that CAUCE is engaging in listed in one place. Check it out!
Talk to CAUCE! After you've read our pages and our FAQ, do you still have questions? Please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Want to complain about a Junk Emailer? If you want to how junk emailers do what they do, or how to track them back to their home ISP to register a complaint, this collection of Anti-Spam Resources is the place to start!
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Non-profit, non-commercial publications may reprint articles if full credit is given. Others please contact us. We don't guarantee accuracy of articles. Caveat lector. Publication, product, and company names may be registered trademarks of their companies. CAUCE does not necessarily endorse the practices or policies of the sites linked to/from our pages; they are provided for informational purposes only. SPAM is a fine product by the Hormel company and we're sorry that their name for canned meat is becoming synonymous with a horrible business practice.