Keeping Up With CAN-SPAM Act

By Cameron Sturdevant  |  Posted 2004-02-02 Print this article Print

CAN-SPAM compliance takes more than good intentions—it also requires nimble databases and comprehensive storage.

The CAN-SPAM act was designed to curb offensive, misleading and costly bulk e-mail. However, the legislation will likely create big problems for well-meaning companies whose business model includes wide distribution of e-mail. Staying on the right side of the CAN-SPAM Act requires the implementation of data management techniques that collect and maintain opt-out lists. The act will also require IT staffs to be vigilant in their compliance efforts and alert to further CAN-SPAM developments.

CAN-SPAM, formally known as Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act of 2003, took effect Jan. 1. The CAN-SPAM Act permits damages of up to $2 million against companies that violate the provisions of the law. A federal district court can triple damages, to $6 million, if it determines that a violation is willful or meets other conditions. (Click here for the complete text of the law.)

eWEEK Labs researched the law to determine its implications for IT departments. We interviewed anti-spam experts, technology lawyers and service providers—including the newly formed CAN-SPAM Compliance Co. LLC.—to develop recommendations for what IT managers should do to make sure that their e-mail meets the laws requirements.

Bear in mind, however, that we are technology analysts, not lawyers; our interpretations of the law are not offered as legal advice.

Next page: Spam—Not

Cameron Sturdevant Cameron Sturdevant is the executive editor of Enterprise Networking Planet. Prior to ENP, Cameron was technical analyst at PCWeek Labs, starting in 1997. Cameron finished up as the eWEEK Labs Technical Director in 2012. Before his extensive labs tenure Cameron paid his IT dues working in technical support and sales engineering at a software publishing firm . Cameron also spent two years with a database development firm, integrating applications with mainframe legacy programs. Cameron's areas of expertise include virtual and physical IT infrastructure, cloud computing, enterprise networking and mobility. In addition to reviews, Cameron has covered monolithic enterprise management systems throughout their lifecycles, providing the eWEEK reader with all-important history and context. Cameron takes special care in cultivating his IT manager contacts, to ensure that his analysis is grounded in real-world concern. Follow Cameron on Twitter at csturdevant, or reach him by email at

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