Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Can SPAM Laws

Senate Bill 877, dubbed the Can Spam Act (Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act) was signed by President Bush and went into effect Jan 1, 2004. It was intended to go after large spammers and carry tough consequences for sending unwanted and offensive e-mails.

The law states that spammers:

  • Can't use false headers (fake email addresses or IP address)

  • Must have a Legitimate Physical Address

  • Must have a Valid Return Address

  • Must include a Valid Subject Line indicating the message is an advertisement

  • Must, if applicable, indicate that the email contains sexually oriented material

  • Must have a valid method for consumers to get off bulk lists "opt-out mechanism"

However, companies can still send you email even if you don't want it!

Basically, the law doesn't stop SPAM. It simply requires spammers to label their emails as SPAM, provide a valid return email address and allow their recipients to "opt-out" of their mailings. The problem is that most of the SPAM we receive is sent from countries other than the United States. In addition, using an "opt-out" mechanism actually helps the spammers verify that your email address is valid. So, quite often, spammers will allow you to "opt-out" of one campaign just to add your, now verified email address, to another campaign. It's a never ending cycle. This law has obvious and easily exploitable loopholes. I'm sure we can all agree that we haven't seen a decrease in SPAM since this law went into effect.

For more information, visit the FTC Website.


mac said...

I agree. Very insightful.

Brent Spencer said...


If you have any questions regarding SPAM, please feel free to ask. I appreciate your feedback.