North American Network Operators Group|
Date Prev | Date Next | Date Index | Thread Index | Author Index | Historical
A beginning to control SPAM..
Ladies and Gentlemen - and others :-) In the 'normal' world there exists a problem that you've all experienced - it's commonly known as "junk" mail., and "junk telephone" calls. As you all probably know (you're all so bright) before you can go after someone for causing you harm, they have to break a law, or a rule. The Federal Goverment, through various bodies (FCC and FTC) has enacted certain rules that categorize certain unsolicited forms of communication (mail, calls, fax) as being *wrong*. They are helped by an international body that (unlike us!) actually has enormous lobbying power. The body is a non-profit (501.c.3 I think) known as the Direct Marketing Association http://www.the-dma.org . This body has almost every major and minor direct marketer as a member, an enormous operating budget, and a pot load of clout. They've helped the feds draft rules. And their members have their sights aimed at the 'net. Us. They believ(ed) that we'd make a great medium for them to send their advertising (spam). Over the last year, I've managed to make them sensitive to the fact that this is *not* a good idea. Of course, I don't carry that much weight. But they have realized that it would be easier to work with us than against us. As a result, they have drafted the following position paper and rfc, and I volunteered to post it here so that you can know where to go to make your thoughts heard. Ignore the date.... it is still open for comment. I urge you to respond to them. They have the clout to influence a lot of the people who are already causing us problems And please remember; I am *only the messenger, trying to help stop the spamming*. At the conclusion of this email, I am in the same position as y'all -- an unhappy recipient of SPAM. So don't try and involve me in the argument because I brought a partial suggestion. Thanks Rodney Joffe Genuity Inc., a Bechtel company http://www.genuity.net DIRECT MARKETING ASSOCIATION, INC. 1120 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10036-6700 · 212 768-7277 Fax: 212 768-4546 http://www.the-dma.org H. ROBERT WIENTZEN PRESIDENT &. CEO DIRECT MARKETING ASSOCIATION E-MAIL PREFERENCE SERVICE REQUEST FOR INFORMATION DECEMBER 1996 Founded in 1917, the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) is the largest trade association for businesses interested in direct marketing and database marketing. A long-time champion of consumer choice, the DMA has historically sought to ensure that consumers are afforded opportunities both to learn about products and services of interest to them and to express their preferences regarding marketers' use and dissemination of information about them. The sole purpose of this Request for Information is to determine the feasibility of developing a service that will enable U.S. consumers to opt out of receiving unsolicited commercial e-mail. The service would provide the same benefit to consumers that DMA's existing preference services provide in that they enable consumers to reduce the amount of advertising mail or telephone marketing calls they receive at home. This service could be modeled after DMA's existing services, described below. DMA anticipates that this Request for Information is expected to lead to a request for proposals if DMA, at its sole discretion, determines such request to be in its best interest. However, DMA does not request proposals at this time, nor can it make assurances that it will do so in the future. Please return information responses by close of business January 20, 1997, to the Direct Marketing Association, 1111 19th Street, NW, Suite 1100, Washington, D.C. 20036, Attention: Patricia Faley, Vice President for Consumer Affairs. Please direct all inquiries to Patricia Faley at (202) 955-5030 (telephone) or (202) 955-0085 or e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org. BACKGROUND The DMA is the largest trade association for businesses interested in direct marketing, which includes the use of databases. DMA represents mere than 3,000 United States corporations as well as 600 corporations from 47 other countries. DMA members use all media to reach their customers and prospects - mail, telephone, direct response TV, radio, home shopping networks, as well as cyberspace. A recently released three-year study conducted by The WEFA Group found that in 1995 American consumers purchased nearly $600 billion in goods and services, and American businesses purchased nearly another $500 billion in goods and services, via direct response (all media). Over the years, DMA has initiated an array of consumer protection and education programs. Among them, DMA adopted guidelines for ethical business practice and established a peer review committee to respond to cases of alleged guideline violations brought to its attention. It published and distributed in 25 countries the DMA Fair Information Practices Manual - a step-by-step "how to" manual designed to assist businesses in developing and implementing companies' policies and procedures on the use of information about consumers. And it established the Mail Preference Service and Telephone Preference Service, which are offered free of charge to give consumers the ability to remove their names individually from the lists of major marketers, which reduces the amount of advertising mail and telephone marketing calls consumers receive at home. Although many direct marketers are somewhat new to the business of marketing on-line, DMA established a dialogue with its members, policymakers, and cyber consumers about marketing in the new media. It has disseminated to its members privacy principles developed jointly with the Interactive Services Association, participated in Federal Trade Commission workshops, and established a parents' page on its Web site with hyperlinks to the sites of software vendors offering programs that enable parents to take a more active role over what their children view and do on the Internet. DMA also is developing a "how to" package, which can be downloaded from its Web site, that will enable marketers easily to create accurate and effective privacy notices for their Web sites. ***** In order to understand DMA's consumer choice philosophy and to understand DMA's requirements for an E-Mail Preference Service (E-MPS), it is helpful first to examine briefly the current Mail Preference Service (MPS) and Telephone Preference Service (TPS). Please note that it is not important that an E-MPS be identical in structure to the existing services. In light of the capabilities of the new technologies, DMA welcomes all suggestions for accomplishing the goal of reducing unwanted mail. MPS/TPS DMA established the MPS name removal file in 1971 to provide consumers with an opportunity to have their names removed from many national mailing lists. DMA established TPS, a companion service, in 1985 to answer increased consumer complaints and regulatory concerns regarding the use of the telephone to market goods. Consumers are not charged for registering with MPS or TPS. Consumers register with MPS or TPS by postal mail. They register directly; third-party requests are not processed because it is important that each consumer has clearly made his or her own choice to reduce their mail or call. Typically, consumers will not notice a decrease in their volume of mail or number of calls until approximately 3-4 months after their names are entered into the MPS/TPS systems. Consumer names remain on MPS/TPS for five years and may be renewed. When consumers register with MPS/TPS, their names are placed on a name removal file. This "do not mail" or "do not call" file is made available to business subscribers on either a monthly or quarterly basis. Subscribers receive a "master" MPS and/or TPS magnetic tape in January of each year. The January tape is complete, containing the names of all consumers registered with the services. Upon receipt of the January tape, all tapes from the previous year are discarded. The January tape is cleaned of all records over five years old. Each subsequent quarterly and monthly tape contains only those consumers' names and addresses added during that month or quarter. Businesses subscribing mid-year receive the complete tape plus updates. List owners should use MPS/TPS before releasing any lists for rental or exchange. A company that receives a rental list, which has not been run against MPS/TPS, should do so before mailing or calling. Many companies also use MPS/TPS through service bureaus. Service bureaus often run MPS and TPS automatically against client tapes. DMA guards against unauthorized use of the name removal file through several means. First, before receiving the MPS or TPS tapes, potential subscribers are required to sign contractual provisions limiting use of the services to name-removal purposes only. Second, both MPS and TPS are protected by sophisticated decoy systems designed to detect any misuse or unauthorized access. E-MPS The objective of an E-MPS would be to provide a service that enables individual U.S. consumers to reduce significantly the amount of unsolicited commercial e-mail they receive. E-MPS probably will require at least four key phases for DMA: registration and acknowledgment, data maintenance, data distribution and data coordination with other countries. It is anticipated that consumers will register either at the DMA Web site or via e-mail. The DMA forms for Internet registration at its Web site could be duplicated for registration via email by consumers who use dedicated e-mail services. It is essential that the registration data be secure in transmission, storage, and maintenance. Consumers will then receive a registration acknowledgment, which would include a restatement of E-MPS policies and several reminders (e.g., that e-mail addresses must be updated for E-MPS to be effective). The registration information will then be forwarded through secure means to a Data Maintenance Center that maintains the data. Data maintenance will include elimination of duplicate records and checking of e-mail addresses to confirm that they are still valid. It may also include deleting addresses that are more than a predetermined number of years old. The Data Maintenance Center will then forward the E-MPS data to the Data Distributor through secure means. The Data Distributor will be responsible for distributing the E-MPS data to authorized subscribers. The encrypted E-MPS data will be accessible via electronic transfer to parties with a valid password. Subscribers will be able to access complete files or only updates, which they would be expected to download before each e-mail campaign or often enough to ensure that they are being responsive to consumer requests. There will be other ongoing activities in the operation of E-MPS. For example, the Data Maintenance Center or some other entity might periodically remind registered consumers of their status and furnish them with an opportunity to remove their e-mail address from E-MPS. The Data Distributor will also be responsible for operating a system designed to detect any misuse or unauthorized access. For these and other reasons, it would be desirable to consolidate all of the E-MPS functions so as to enable consumers to register directly with the entity responsible for data maintenance and distribution. DMA is also interested in determining the feasibility of offering consumers more flexibility in their opt out choices relative to e-mail than which currently exists in MPS and TPS. For example, what technological capabilities would be needed to offer consumers selective opt-out, that is, the option of receiving e-mail from catalogue companies, but not from auto parts manufacturers. To further international cooperation in the implementation of the E-MPS objective, it is anticipated that there will be both a global E-MPS Web site and national E-MPS Web sites. The global E-MPS Home Page will have language options and point to the national E-MPS Home Pages where registration will take place. DMA has discussed creation of a global E-MPS with direct marketing representatives from 20 countries. They are: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Finland, France, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Japan, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Thailand, and the United Kingdom. Over time, we expect that other countries would join our discussions and our global self-regulatory network. REQUEST FOR INFORMATION DMA seeks information that will help it determine the feasibility of the funding, the development and the implementation of an E-MPS for U.S. residents and, separately, of a global E-MPS. The information provided by respondents to this Request for Information is expected to lead to a request for bids if DMA, at its sole discretion, determines that it is in DMA's best interest to request such bids or proposals. However, DMA makes no assurances that it will request bids or proposals at any time in the future. Information responses should not contain proprietary or sensitive information, and DMA assumes no liability for protecting or safeguarding any information provided. The following questions explore issues DMA expects to address in implementing an E-MPS. Commentary on additional issues is welcome. 1. The combined MPS/TPS files contain about 3.5 million names. How many persons residing in the U.S. might be expected to register for E-MPS during the first two years of its existence? Explain. 2. What information would be needed from consumers? Would it suffice for registration to collect e-mail addresses, or would other identifiers such as name and/or country be needed? 3. What would be some of the approaches to verifying the identity of the person registering for the service? How could DMA ensure that the person requesting to opt out is the actual owner of the e-mail address? 4. Due to the economics of sending bulk e-mail (unlike postal mail, the cost between sending one e-mail solicitation and sending 1,000 nay be inconsequential), it is important that the process by which e-mail addresses are removed from lists be inexpensive and easy for the e-mailer to use. To that end, the automating of the system for registering e-mail addresses and disseminating the list is desirable. To what degree would it be possible to automate the process of collecting and accessing or disseminating e-mail suppression information? What are the pros and cons of doing this? What other automation issues arise? 5. What are the special requirements for security other than using seed names to detect misuse? How would other systems work? 6. What reports should the Data Maintenance Center furnish the DMA at a minimum? 7. What are the global implications of such a service? In a medium such as the Internet, is it feasible to create a localized system Out will serve only residents of a particular geographic area, even if through a common standard the system is capable of interacting with the systems of other countries? Or should one entity operate a global E-MPS for all of the direct marketing associations of the various countries? 8. What are your initial estimates, of costs for this E-MPS project if limited to U.S. residents? If extended globally? 9. What would be the timing for implementation of E-MPS (a) nationally and (b) globally? 10. What is the feasibility of offering consumer flexibility in their opt out choices. For example the ability to reduce e-mail from a certain category of marketer. 11. In addition, we welcome any other suggestions or comments that responders might have to address this issue. - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -