A US senator's idea to charge users for sending e-mail as a way to fight spam was just "public brainstorming" and may not become legislation.
The senator, Mark Dayton, introduced a bill in March which proposed creating a national antispam registry. While speaking in support of his bill at a Senate hearing on Wednesday, he added that "it's worth looking at" levying a small charge per e-mail sent, acting as a deterrent to spammers sending millions of e-mail messages a day.
A Dayton spokesman admitted yesterday that "it was the senator speaking fairly off the cuff, wondering out loud about ways to combat the spam problem."
He added that the senator's staff have not worked on any e-mail tax proposals and no legislation is planned at the moment. When asked how much Dayton proposed to tax each piece of e-mail, the spokesman admitted, "It hasn't even gotten that far yet."
A hoax about a proposed e-mail tax charging five cents for each e-mail sent has been circulating on the internet for some time.