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David E. Sorkin, Unsolicited Commercial E-Mail and the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991, 45 Buffalo L. Rev. 1001 (1997).


Abstract

      The Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 (47 U.S.C. § 227), enacted in response to abuses by telemarketers, prohibits the sending of unsolicited advertisements to telephone facsimile machines, which it defines as equipment which can transcribe electronic signals received over a telephone line onto paper. This definition arguably includes electronic mail messages received using a personal computer equipped with a modem, courts have not yet addressed the applicability of the TCPA to e-mail.

      Unsolicited commercial e-mail is widely disfavored on the Internet and within commercial online services. Network service providers and individual users fight unsolicited e-mail using contractual prohibitions, rules of "netiquette," and various self-help mechanisms, but the TCPA could add a strong legal tool to their arsenal. Congress does not appear to have considered the Act's potential applicability to e-mail; the breadth of its definition of "telephone facsimile machine" appears to be accidental. However, the policies behind the ban on unsolicited fax advertising apply to e-mail as well as to conventional facsimile transmissions, and restrictions on unsolicited e-mail advertising would probably pass constitutional muster. Nonetheless, it is doubtful that courts will extend the TCPA as it currently stands to include e-mail advertising, and alternative methods of addressing the "junk e-mail" problem are likely to have fewer undesirable side effects.


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Identity theft comes in many forms.

A person\92s identity can be 'borrowed' for the purpose of creating fictional credit cards or a person\92s entire identity can be usurped to the point where they can have difficulty proving that they really are who they claim to be.

Up to 18% of identity theft victims take as long as four years to realize that their identity has been stolen.

There are many ways to protect your personal identity and many steps you can take to prevent your identity from being stolen:

*Never give out unnecessary personal information
*Never provide bank details or social security numbers over the Internet
*Always remain aware of who is standing behind you when you type in your personal credit codes at ATM machines and at supermarket checkout swipe machines.