CAN-SPAM Act Debunked

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The CAN-SPAM Act will take effect January 1st. Will it actually do anything to solve the spam problem?

On January 1st, 2004 the CAN-SPAM Act will go into effect. According Rich Olson, anti-spam expert and founder of most sufferers of unwanted e-mail won’t even notice.

“The bill doesn’t actually do anything to outlaw spam – it’s just that simple.”

“The CAN-SPAM Act puts some minor restrictions on the kind of junk mail spammers can send legally, but it’s nothing substantial. There will probably be a reduction in messages with misleading subject lines but that’s about it. The other limitations are technicalities, and can easily be worked around by spammers. There’s little reason to believe this legislation will actually cause a measurable reduction in the amount of spam people receive.”

“We’re already seeing reports of spam with disclaimers like ‘this message has been sent in compliance with Senate Bill 877 (the CAN-SPAM Act), and hence cannot legally be considered spam.’”

State Anti-Spam Efforts Scrapped

“With recent arrests of super-spammers such as Jeremy Jaynes, it’s clear enforcement of state level anti-spam legislation has been gaining traction. The threat of jail time can be a very real deterrent. Individual states such as California have passed aggressive anti-spam legislation. The CAN-SPAM Act supercedes these laws, so spammers now only have to worry about one set of fairly weak regulations.”

“This is not progress. A lot of people are under the impression this bill will have the same effect on Spam as the largely effective ‘do-not-call list’ has had on telemarketing. That’s just not the case.”

Solving the Problem One Inbox at a Time

“My advice to users is to solve their own spam problem. The first generation of anti-spam products weren’t very effective – but there are a lot of good solutions out there now.”

“My favorite is of course SpamButcher. It’s a client-side application that can stop up to 98% of spam, and is available as a free 21-day trial from ”

“In the long run, the legal system may play an effective role in curtailing unsolicited e-mail. Until then, users are going to get much better results if they focus on keeping spam out of their own inboxes.”

About the Author

Rich Olson is “Chief Butcher” (CEO) of SpamButcher - . He has spent the last two years researching and engineering software to identify and eliminate spam.

Rich is available for interviews, and may be contacted via

SpamButcher is a privately held Seattle, WA based company with over 100,000 trial users. SpamButcher is currently not soliciting offers for venture capital.

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