FTC Celebrates CAN-SPAM with Spam Suits - Page 2

By Paul F. Roberts  |  Posted 2005-12-20 Print this article Print

In a separate report on the effectiveness of CAN-SPAM, the FTC concluded that the act has been effective in forcing "best practices" on legitimate commercial e-mail senders. It has also provided ISPs with new tools to bring suits against spammers. To date, more than 50 spammers have been brought against spammers by the FTC, the U.S. Department of Justices, state Attorneys General and ISPs using provisions of CAN-SPAM, the FTC said. Those actions, coupled with better antispam technology have reduced the amount of spam consumers receive, or caused it to level off, FTC said.
The FTC study also noted limitations to CAN-SPAM. For example, illegitimate e-mail senders continue to thrive, often operating outside U.S. borders. E-mail with malicious file attachments are becoming more common and spammers often take advantage of loose domain registration practices to disguise their identity, FTC said.
At Sophos PLC, researchers have observed a steep reduction in U.S. based spam in the last year, said Gregg Mastoras [CQ], a senior security analyst at the U.K.-based firm. According to Sophoss figures, the U.S. now produces around 26 percent of the worlds spam, compared to 46 percent last year, he said. However, the decline in the U.S. has been accompanied by a steep increase in spam from countries like South Korea and China during the same period, Mastoras said. "Were seeing more spam in non-English languages. Its still unwanted and its still clogging e-mail boxes," he said. Cross-border arrangements with Canada are nice. However, the U.S. government needs to partner closely with governments in other major spam producing countries to have an affect on the volume of unwanted e-mail, he said. Read more here about how CAN-SPAM compliance had been elusive in the beginning months. The U.S. government should also fund the FTC better so that it could increase actions against spammers, said Jordan Cohen, Director of ISP and Government Relations at Epsilon Interactive. "The FTC is under funded. They need the resources to file civil cases," he said. In its report, FTC recommended that the U.S. Congress pass the US SAFE WEB Act, which would improve the FTCs ability to use CAN-SPAM to pursue spammers outside U.S. borders. The agency also advocated better user education and technology to stop spam, the FTC said. However, no legal remedies will totally eliminate the problem, Cohen said. "E-mail is an easy channel. The real focus needs to be on technology that can make sure the e-mail doesnt get through," he said. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest security news, reviews and analy-sis. And for insights on security coverage around the Web, take a look at eWEEK.com Security Cen-ter Editor Larry Seltzers Weblog.


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