THE MAGAZINE

A Drooping Spam Law

By Peter Piazza

The CAN-SPAM law was a flaccid defense against unwanted e-mail, according to antispam company Commtouch, which analyzed hundreds of millions of spam messages in the first half of this year. The statistics show that less than 10 percent of all unsolicited messages complied with that law, which requires each message to have a functioning return address, a postal address, a way for recipients to unsubscribe to future solicitations, a nondeceptive subject line, and a clear indication that the message is an advertisement or solicitation.

The statistics reveal that nearly 30 percent of all spam messages are drug offers, with Viagra appearing in more than 14 percent of those. Mortgage solicitations were the next most common.

The statistics also show that the United States bears much of the responsibility for spam. While nearly three-quarters of all spam messages contain URLs that point to Web sites hosted in China, more than half the spam messages themselves originate in the United States. Nevertheless, six law enforcement agencies in the U.S., the United Kingdom, and Australia recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MDU) to share spam-fighting resources. The agencies, which include the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and the U.K. Office of Fair Trading, agreed to exchange evidence and cooperate in investigating spam. A law enforcement gathering in London in October will address this effort.

@ The MOU is at SM Online.

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