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A spam-free email address?

A Washington nonprofit group is introducing an email service that uses the state's month-old antispam law to create a spam-free email address.

    A Washington state-based nonprofit group is introducing an email service that uses the state's month-old antispam law to create what it hopes will become a spam-free email address.

    Last week, Seattle-based freelance writer Bruce Miller garnered publicity for receiving what is believed to be the first monetary settlement from a spammer who had allegedly violated Washington's law.

    This week, Miller's organization, the Telecommunications Users Group (TUG), is offering a new email forwarding service based on the law that he hopes will serve as a spam repellent for all Netizens, regardless of where they live.

    The idea is for those who don't want junk email to take refuge under what is clearly a Washington-based email address: "wa-state-resident.com."

    For Washington residents, TUG will provide the verification to spammers that they live in the state. That will probably be needed in court because the law specifies that the spammer "knows, or has reason to know, [that the address] is held by a Washington resident."

    Many ISPs, for privacy concerns, will not verify to strangers the state in which their members reside. But TUG will, Miller said.

    And if a Washington state resident is spammed and forwards the message to TUG, the group will urge the resident to take action himself, as well as contacting the state attorney general's office. TUG also can take action separately as an ISP.

    "Through that process you can get three different parties involved going after the same spammer for the same message," Miller said.

    For nonresidents, the address could provide a refuge. While Miller has no illusions that this will solve the spam problem, he is hoping that spammers wanting to avoid actions like his and lawsuits like one filed yesterday will avoid sending email to TUG's domain.

    "If spammers have any brains they might exclude all addresses in that domain to be on the safe side," he said.

    The service costs $9 for six months and $16 for a year. Costs will cover expenses and then any excess will go toward fighting spam, Miller said.