`WITH the growth of fax machine numbers has come junk fax, the electronic equivalent of junk mail,'' said United States Rep. Edward Markey, chairman of the House Telecommunications and Finance Subcommittee in May congressional hearings. Accountemps, a large accounting, bookkeeping, and data processing temporary personnel service, interviewed executive and personnel directors of the nation's 1,000 largest corporations and reported 22 percent of facsimile transmissions to be unnecessary or wasteful. ``With 2.5 million fax machines in the US today ... it's clear that misuse of this suddenly indispensable business tool can have a serious impact on workplace productivity,'' said Accountemps chairman Max Messmer.
``The fax machine, used properly, can be a boon to business efficiency. Unfortunately, the same equipment can also be used to inundate the owners of fax machines with voluminous and unsolicited material,'' added John Glynn of the Maryland Office of People's Counsel. ``The recipient [of a fax advertisement] has to pay ... for the paper to print it on.''
The congressional subcommittee, as well as legislatures in New York, Connecticut, and California among others, are at various stages in implementing bans on unsolicited ads to fax users who notify telephone companies they do not want such material.