|Received:||3/20/2004 8:19:40 PM|
|Agency:||Federal Trade Commission|
The provisions of the CAN-SPAM Act have already been "worked" around by spammers. Those who have not found a way around them, are simply ignoring the Act altogether. Since the adoption of the new law, SPAM seems to still be increasing at the same exponential rate as before. My Daily SPAM count has now exceeded 800. I have had to initiate dual-layer Anti-Spam technology to enable me to use my Email effectively. One program on the server to "pre-tag" and another to eliminate, once it is downloaded. This is to prevent false-positives and still allow me to function. The most significant change that has occurred in the last year has been the increased usage of false-headers, and outright pirating of someone else domain name. I provide website services for about 30 domains, which I host as a reseller on another server in Chicago. I used to host them in New York, but had to switch to a different server, on an entirely different IP block, because RoadRunner (TimeWarner's internet service) had completely blocked all email from any domain in that entire IP block (over 250,000 domains). My customers were irate. This all occurred because a SPAMMER had been using a server in that IP Block to relay SPAM, and RoadRunner initiated the blackout. After several entire days spent trying to get someone to fix the problem, I was forced to simply setup a new hosting account, and cancel my other service. I am sure that there were a few hosting companies who were forced out of business, due to the mass exodus of clients from their hosting servers. I have also been inundated with messages from AOL warning me that I had been sending SPAM from my domain, and they were blacklisting my domain. I had not been doing it at all, and these were simply forged headers, to make it appear that they were coming from my domains. I receive a lot of irate reply messages from users who don't want SPAM from me, even though I never sent it. One of the primary concerns of the CAN-SPAM Act should be to IDENTIFY the SENDER LEGITIMATELY and EASILY, and severely punish anyone who tries to send ANY EMAIL with false identification. Even if the email is not unsolicited commercial email, it is still fraudulent to send it using false header identification. I have several clients who have asked me how they can reduce or eliminate these fake headers, and I have simply told them that they can't afford the Private Investigators fees to track down the senders and get it stopped. By the time they did, that SPAMMER would have moved anyway. The falsification of SUBJECT text should also be noted as an effort to circumvent Anti-SPAM software and legislation. As far as the definition of unsolicited commercial email itself, the Act needs to clearly define this as "the net impression" of the message. Just because I purchased something from a company 10 months ago, should not allow them to send me 10 "Account Updates" per week, which are nothing more than a cover-up for the advertising contained therein. Using people to act on your behalf to forward unsolicited commercial email should not be considered any different than doing it yourself. Especially if the original message is deceptive, and misleads the consumer into thinking it is not SPAM, and that giving information about themselves or others will not result in further solicitation. It appears that the IDENTIFICATION and PROSECUTION are the 2 most important factors. There must be penalties and deterrents, or SPAM will eventually stifle the internet. I was employed at a college in the 1980's, and was on the internet before it was commercial at all. I have seen the impact that "responsible commercial use" has had on expanding this technology and the marketplace into the global phenomenon that it is in just a few years. The same thing can happen in reverse if SPAM and other threats to the internet are not reigned in. Bandwidth will be usurped, and the average consumer will begin to turn away from the internet.