6 April 1997
Subject: Consumer Privacy 1997 -- Comment, P954807
I am providing the attached comments regarding Unsolicited Commercial E-mail for the upcoming sessions Two and Three for the June Public Workshop on Consumer Information Privacy.
My credentials on this subject include:
1. I am a retired Air Force officer who has been on the Internet since 1983 as part of official duties. I have therefore seen the growth from earliest days to the present.
2. I am owner and primary system administrator of a small not-for-profit Internet Service Provider (ISP) founded just before retirement in late 1993, therefore I have witnessed the explosive growth phase of the Internet over the last three years.
3. I am familiar with the technical operation of the Internet mail system and other technical aspects of the Internet operation from my system administration duties.
4. I have personally observed both from the user and ISP perspective the rapid emergence of unsolicited commercial mail and the attempts by providers and Internet users alike to stem this invasive, costly practice.
5. I have personally had to maintain constant vigilance over the computer systems I administer including having to upgrade and secure them against the theft of resources that unsolicited commercial mail has come to represent.
6. I have had to answer subscriber complaints from our own user community regarding inability to get off mailing lists they never asked to be put on.
7. I monitor and am an ongoing participant in several online discussion forums dealing with unsolicited commercial e-mail and other forms of net abuse. In these forums all sides of the issue and various solutions are hotly debated. I have a good view of all sides of the argument for and against.
8. I have closely observed the salient lawsuits which have been brought by the major online providers, CompuServe and AOL. I provided friend of the court letters in both.
9. I maintain contacts in many different providers network administration, network security, and legal departments with whom I work to trace unsolicited mailings and mutually work out other network problems, therefore I am aware of their views on the subject.
10. I am a member of the Internet Service Providers' Consortium, a growing group of providers who share common goals to protect and preserve the value of the Internet as a personal and business communications medium.
I sincerely hope the accompanying comments will prove of value to the Commission in its deliberations. It is my hope that the outcome will be a strong stand which truly protects the consumer from the annoyance and real cost of unsolicited commercial e-mail. It is my heartfelt opinion that the viability of the Internet electronic mail system as a useful personal communications tool is at stake if this issue is not firmly resolved.
I have seperately filed a request to participate in the Workshop and hope to be selected.
Thank you for your attention and consideration of these comments.
George F. Nemeyer