4 Years of CAN-SPAM
This short bit in DMNews by Jeremy Saibil about the good and the bad of CAN-SPAM got me to think about it as well. He thinks the law has overall had a positive effect. That's probably right, but given that there's an always full well of spam out there, whether it's put an overall dent in the amount each individual receives is another question.
- The private enforcement mechanism has been an utter failure. For the most part it has spawned a cottage industry of litigation, in some instances seeking to go after legitimate marketers who fall on the right side of the line. Congress should not have created a private cause of action or should have limited it (maybe a more robust bond requirement?).
- Companies that are engaged in filtering efforts should have robust but clearly defined protection and maybe an attorney's fees provision in their favor. The protection already exists, but it should be made clear. The peripheral disputes commonly (and sometimes mistakenly) referred to as SLAPP suits are a total waste of time and energy.
- The government should probably be more aggressive about going after the source, and using the criminal provisions a bit more. It seems - and I haven't seen the numbers - that CAN-SPAM has resulted in only a handful of prosecutions and convictions.
- The state statutes and enforcement provisions have been of questionable utility.
- Maybe we should have a bounty system. This would have the unintended consequence of spurring on more aggressive investigation (more peripheral lawsuits) but it could be a good way to channel the energy of the anti-spam community. Parts of the anti-spam community have worked well with law enforcement and in general have contributed meaningfully to combat the problem. Others parts, not so much.
- I'm curious to know how the technical fixes (e.g., Spam Arrest) are doing. I'm sure their numbers have grown, but I'm wondering whether there has been a shift en masse?
- How about the international component?
- How about political spam?
- Social networking sites are obviously an area where the problem has grown. They will come up with some sort of fix since it's in their interest to do so.
- SMS spam seems to be less of an issue than it's made out to be.