Six Leading Associations File Amicus Brief Raising Serious Legal Concerns with Utah Child Protection Registry
YORK, ME-January 25, 2006 -- Today, the Email Sender and Provider Coalition (ESPC) announced the filing of an application of amici curiae against the Utah Child Protection Registry Act in conjunction with the American Advertising Federation, the American Association of Advertising Agencies, the Association of National Advertisers Inc., the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Center for Democracy & Technology. The group of organizations demonstrates a united voice across the online industry against email registries.
The Utah law aims to protect minors from receiving email messages that promote products or services that cannot be lawfully sold to them or contain material that is "harmful to minors." It attempts to do so by creating a "Do Not Email" registry which contains email addresses that belong to minors. The Act requires email marketers to "scrub," or compare, their lists against the registry for a fee and implements enforcement methods for any senders who do not comply.
The ESPC and the email industry applaud Utah's intentions, however, they believe that the Act is extremely flawed in many ways. Several security concerns arise when examining the registry technology which may actually expose email addresses belonging to minors rather than sealing them from predators and illegal spammers. The Federal Trade Commission has opined on numerous occasions that such registries: (a) are not feasible; (b) increase the prevalence of unsolicited email messages; and (c) expose our nation's children to even more inappropriate content. The broad language in this bill could also chill speech in all types of electronic communications.
"Three strong advertising associations, a leading email association and two consumer advocacy/online privacy organizations coming together is a rare and powerful coalition," said Trevor Hughes, executive director of the Email Sender and Provider Coalition. "The fact that we have come together so strongly is testament to the gravity of our concerns about this Act."
The Utah Act also flouts federal CAN-SPAM legislation; ignoring the fact that Congress determined spam legislation must happen at a national level to provide a common platform for standards. The amicus brief will argue that the CAN-SPAM Act should control and pre-empt the Utah state registry.
All of the involved organizations have generated statements that clearly explain their concerns and issues associated with the Utah registry.