Do-Not-Email “child protection” registries – suspect timing

Interesting timing on this topic, as we approach mid-term Congressional elections in the U.S. this year.  Two states have implemented registries (Michigan and Utah) while five other states are considering similar programs (Connecticut, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, and Iowa).  An assortment of trade and advocacy groups are opposed to these efforts, including the ANA.  Even the FTC hasn’t been too positive on the concept of a national registry, citing the likelihood of more harm than good.  For an example of how the system could be compromised, check out this post from the Freedom to Tinker blog.

Even if the privacy retention issues get worked out, it seems pretty clear that the big losers will be large companies who need to pay to comply with registries.  Spam will continue as malicious individuals find ways to out-spoof and out-proxy law enforcement.  And in many cases, many spammers won’t be worth pursuing, as only large violators (like DirectTV in telemarketing) will have enough $$$ to make the effort worthwhile.  There might be some smaller "make an example of you" cases like in music sharing but these registries will make the problem worse before it gets any better.

It would be tough for any congressperson voice dissent – even the DMA is not joining the lawsuit against the Utah registry.  This may be in part because the lawsuit was brought by an adult entertainment group; but in any case, opponents can always argue that "it’s for the kids" and it’s difficult to cut through the clutter on that message in an election year.