- Man arrested in car bomb plot at Kansas airport
- Prison inmates take up ‘Knockout’ game, target female officers
- U.S. Army hails success with drone-shooting laser
- John Kerry: Israel-Palestinian peace deal paved for April
- India diplomat who touts women’s rights busted for $3 wage to nanny
- MSNBC host Ed Schultz paid $252K by unions in 2012-2013
- Korean War memorial ordered to take down Christian cross
- Billy Graham near death, ‘close to going home to be with the Lord’
- SeaTac, Wash.: City’s new $15 minimum wage heads to court
- Obama mulls support for Islamists in Syria, with conditions
Spam flood still rising despite new U.S. law
Unwanted e-mail continues to increase despite the enactment of the nation’s first federal law against spam a month ago.
About three-quarters of all e-mail sent in January was spam and nearly two-thirds of that total was sent in a way that makes the new Can-Spam Act difficult to enforce, some e-mail security companies say.
Postini, a Redwood City, Calif., firm that filters e-mail for companies, reported that three-quarters of the 4 billion messages it processed in January were spam. Brightmail, a San Francisco company that filters e-mail for large companies, noted that spam made up a record 60 percent of the 85 billion messages it scanned in January.
Analysts estimate that spam, or unsolicited commercial e-mail, costs businesses as much as $10 billion in services and lost productivity a year.
State attorneys general, the Federal Trade Commission and Internet service providers have been trying to fight spammers for years, with limited success. The Can-Spam Act, the first federal legislative effort to curb spam, bans the most deceptive practices by spammers and allows for stiff penalties and jail time for the worst offenders.
The Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice have yet to use the law to bring an enforcement action against a spammer, though they said investigations are ongoing.
“It’s a matter of when, not if,” a spammer is caught, said Michael Goodman, a staff lawyer with the FTC. “It’s not like we’re back-burnering this.”
Building a case against a spammer takes time, Mr. Goodman said, because the worst offenders usually create multiple barriers to protect their identities.
British Internet security company Messagelabs has said that more than 60 percent of the spam messages it sees come through vulnerabilities in computers known as “open proxies.” These vulnerabilities, usually created by a computer virus or worm, allow spammers to send mass amounts of unwanted e-mail without being identified.
Supporters of the law said e-mail users should be patient, and that the new law will show its strength once the FTC announces an enforcement action.
“Once that starts happening, we’ll see some results,” said Jennifer O’Shea, a spokeswoman for Sen. Conrad Burns, Montana Republican and lead sponsor of the legislation. “It’s the time it takes to build a case.”
But critics said that, if history is a guide, enforcement actions will not stop spammers.
“We’ve had actions against spammers. We’ve had them for the last seven or eight years. It hasn’t made a dent,” said David Kramer, a Silicon Valley, Calif., lawyer who has consulted on spam legislation at the state level.
The only type of action against spammers that will work, Mr. Kramer said, is lawsuits from individual victims of spam. The Can-Spam Act does not allow for a right of private action against spammers, and pre-empts a measure in California that would have done so.
By Mangosuthu Buthelezi
Memories of a long brotherhood tempered in common struggle
- U.S. Navy-China showdown: Chinese try to halt U.S. cruiser in international waters
- Obama birther theories float as Hawaii health director killed in crash
- House budget bargain faces Senate filibuster; Republicans line up to oppose
- PRUDEN: The last living witnesses; they wore the yellow star and remember the Nazi terror
- Obama's Afghanistan experts stumped on U.S. death toll, war costs during hearing
- North Korea's official report on Jang Song Thaek
- Billy Graham near death, close to going home to be with the Lord
- NAPOLITANO: A conspiracy so vast
- James Bond: The spy who is really an alcoholic
- U.S. pilot scares off Iranians with 'Top Gun'-worthy stunt: 'You really ought to go home'
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Our Choice: Individual responsibility and self-government or the abandonment of the American Revolution
A stat-head’s outlook, direct from his worn in couch cushion.
John Glaser turns his pen toward foreign policy and international relations around the world
A conservative commentator and satirist takes on the worlds of politics and entertainment in pursuit of truth, justice and all things America.
Extraordinary day at Redskins Park
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow