FTC Comes Down Hard On Kodak With $26,000 Spam Fine

from the so-effective dept

The Federal Trade Commission has shown companies it means business when it comes to enforcing the CAN SPAM Act, reacting to Kodak’s spamming of 2 million people with a massive $26,331 penalty. That’ll teach people not to spam! This is the kind of no-holds-barred action that makes the FTC think its enforcement of CAN SPAM is effective, when it actually illustrates why it isn’t. Kodak got stung for its emails not including an opt-out mechanism, which the company says was due to a technical problem. Slapping such a huge company with such a small fine for what appears to be a minor mistake really does nothing to stop the huge flow of spam from less legitimate sources, nor, at 1.3 cents per person spammed, does it represent much of a financial deterrent.

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Comments on “FTC Comes Down Hard On Kodak With $26,000 Spam Fine”

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AJ says:


I know about all the problems blue frog has had in the last few weeks, but i think applications like that, that allow the user to remove, report, and attack the spammers, are the way of the future. Its a good feeling, however inefective it is, to not only report spam, but take an active role in its removal. Who’s to blame, the idiot sending the millions of emails, or the company paying him to do so?.. I think both, but more so the company paying the tab.

my two cents

Aj says:

spam is spam

I think in this case they are being fined for not offering an opt out link. They said it was an accident, but if the average joe accidentally tips over a vase at a store, should he not have to pay for it because it was an accident? Accidental or not, my mainbox is always full of junk, time to set an example however small…

Bob says:

Addressable fines

I think a problem with the FTC imposing fines on smammers is that most spammers are hard to prosecute due to the fact that it is difficult to konw to whom to send the subpoena. Kodak, a multinational corproation is highly visible and easy to target.

Like for stolen goods:

Scenario A:

Hey where did you buy this?

At National Retailer X. Hmm, looks like an inventory scam. Let’s investigate them.

Scenario B:

Hey, where did you buy this?

From a scurvy lad in a parking lot downtown.

Hmm, uh, is he there often? Where does he live or work from?

I dunno.

Hmm… Uh… Hmm. I see. Oh well.

But seriously, if you slap a penny fine on someone, even if it’s deliberate spam, it becomes just a marginal increase in the cost of doing business and not a very effective deterrent.

Arochone (user link) says:

Spam will end when it's obsolete

Attacking spammers is not the answer. It just lowers us to their level. Lower actually. Why should it be illegal for them to send you an email but perfectly fine for you to initiate an organized attack of their system?

Fines won’t work either. First of all it’s too hard to find them. Secondly, there will always be some country that our government can’t reach them at. That’s the problem with the internet being global.

Spam will end when it’s ineffective. I dunno about you, but I get about 50 spam emails a day. I get about 1 a month that makes it past google’s filters. If all email filters were that good, it just wouldn’t be worth it anymore.

Anonymous Coward says:

C’mon guys seriously, the only people that should be complaining about spam are the Naive and the very old.

I mean, we are now in a very Tech-Savy era, and if you dont know how to keep spam out of your personal inbox, well then, you just dont belong online.

And besides, spam is only sent to you when you sign p for something online. If you never sign up for anything online, or if you neevr input your email address into any online form, then you are safe.

Please stop complaining about spam, unless you are very old. SO kodak made a mistake, big deal…. I hardly beleive they did it intentionaly…. however, seeing how they only got a “slap?” on the wrist,(more like a light brush), they might be enticed to really start spamming

my 2cents and a dollar

meson.storm says:

Re: Re:

ummm, are you crazy? Spammers pay big money to get their hands on mailing lists, some ISP’s even sell their mailing lists to spammers. Just not signing up for anything online is not the answer, because the fact is if you have an email address, no matter what precautions you may take you will still at some point recieve a spam message.

your take on this subject is niave and your solution is absured. The only real way to stop spam is to go after the corporations paying them to send the spam.

I recieve emails from Kodak once a week or so, but I signed up for their newsletter as I use their products. I don’t believe Kodak spams and I do feel not having an opt out function was a mistake. The FCC needs to reorganize their efforts and go after the corporations that are actually contributing to spammers incomes, when there is no money being paid to spammers only then will the spam stop.

ehrichweiss says:

Re: Re: Re:

“Spammers pay big money to get their hands on mailing lists, some ISP’s even sell their mailing lists to spammers.”

I’ve monitored my mailserver’s logs every day for the past 2 years and there is no indication that they are using much of a list of email addresses; usernames is another story however. What I am noticing is that they are trying every username on their list until they get a valid recipient which doesn’t work on my setup because 2 bad commands(including invalid usernames) from the same host will get them blacklisted. And I know that’s what they’re doing because there never once has been a “andrew” or “cynthiam” on this host since it’s only had a handful of email addresses on it ever but lots of those names pop up all the time.

Anonymous Coward says:

Do we really want...

Do we as americans really want the US Gov putting rules on the internet? Soon it won’t be your right to get on the net you will have a Net ID card and pay the US Gov or state gov a fee yearly to use the net. Mainly because we don’t like spam? Price per email you send will be ? 39c? Sound like fun?

You guys really like our gov telling us the people of the USA what we can and can’t do?

Hey it’s your freedom… You really like giving it away?

Hey spammers? Clean up your act, do it right… it’s simple your lists would be worth more. Your services would be worth more. You would be able to charge more for a smaller broadcast. Less work. OR end up with the US Gov owning the whole dang thing just because we as the people couldn’t figure it out and Big Bro needs to help us.

The future looks dim for all of us.

Rick says:

COOL! I'm gonna spam AMERICA!

Let’s see, I can easily rent a database and email almost every american for as little as 5-10c each OR I can just spam them all and MAYBE be fined 1.3c each. I think I’ll save some cash and just SPAM you all!

Just more proff that CAN-SPAM was a waste of time. It has done far more harm than good.

Did you know anyone can gain access to almost everyone’s e-mail address that doesn’t want spam, BECAUSE of CAN-SPAM? How? Easy.

Sign up for an affiliate account at any web revenue site, such as CJ.com, advertising.com or valueclickmedia.com.

Look up any offer that allows email ads. Download their ‘suppression list’ A ‘suppression list’ is a list of ALL the email addresses who have ‘opted out’ of THAT OFFER in the past.

Viola, I now have THOUSANDS of email addresses to spam with whatever I feel like. I only break the law if I send them info on the offer the suppression list was for in the first place!

Think they have some secure way of keeping those email addresses safe? Think again – most don’t. I have downloaded dozens of lists from the most obvious places – such as http://www.website.com/suppression.txt (most common location on sites)

With a simple script I could just search a few thousand domains for /suppression.txt and end up with tens of millions of free VALID email addresses in minutes….

Aren’t you glad your elected officials are here to protect you from spam?

Andrew Strasser says:

The fines and charges in relationship.

Most normal people pay fines of this much when going under attack by the govt. for doing something wrong. Wouldn’t it not help our judicial system if it were more balanced should we say. Where when a huge company or someone who stole million or hey maybe even billions of dollars get’s charged an equivalent share acording to their financial/size of their crimes.

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