CAN SPAM Designed To Make Congressmen Look Good – Not Stop Spam

from the no-surprise-of-course dept

We all know now that the CAN SPAM law is a disaster and is unlikely to do anything useful in the battle against spam. It’s also becoming clear that the entire point of the bill was never to stop spam, but to make a few folks in Congress look good (which seems to be the entire point of most politics these days). First, Business Week spends some time comparing the mostly effective federal “Do Not Call” list with CAN SPAM. The DNC list was planned out carefully by the FTC and the FCC, and, while it upset many telemarketers, it was designed in a way to be effective. There was also enough time, and enough publicity given to the list that people knew about it and had the opportunity to sign up for it – while marketers had the ability to prepare on their end as well. With CAN SPAM, however, it was rushed through Congress with little thought towards whether or not it would actually do anything and without any money to actually deal with any of these cases. Meanwhile, the NY Times reports that the sponsors of the bill asked the FTC to sue a spammer the very first week the bill was in effect in order to make a big “splash” so they could pat themselves on the back – even as the spam levels continued to increase. FTC Chair Timothy Muris (who has spoken out against this spam law) apparently laughed them off and pointed out it was impossible to do such a thing. First of all, in order to violate the law, the spammers have to ignore an opt-out request. Then, the FTC would have to track down who the actual spammer was – with no additional funds, because the law didn’t provide for them.

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