The CAN-SPAM Act, otherwise known as the Controlling the Assault of Non-solicited Pornography and Marketing Act, was passed by President George W. Bush in December of 2003. The Act, which became effective January 1st, 2004, is currently enforced by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), a national agency that overlooks issues of broadband, media and public safety. Although individual states have passed laws protecting users from receiving unsolicited emails, CAN-SPAM was the first federal law that mandated national protection laws regarding the emailing of spam material.
Spam accounts for 14.5 billion messages globally per day, with the United States being the largest generator of spam emails. Researchers have found that spam accounts for 63 percent of all emails, with about 36 percent of these emails being advertisements and 31.7 percent adult material. Surprisingly most spam emails are sent by pharmaceutical companies, with an astonishing 55.35 percent of all spam emails in the United States related to pharmaceutical businesses. About 13 percent of spam consists of malware links, while identity theft accounts for a minor percent of these emails, at about 0.77 percent.
In order to protect users from unwanted email and identity theft, both federal and state laws have been passed to keep users’ personal information private from companies that send spam materials to consumers. While the federally mandated CAN-SPAM Act was passed in order to help users avoid a large volume of spam emails, many users have also nicknamed the law the “You-Can-Spam” act, as it allows certain types of spam emails to be sent, overriding more substantial and strict state laws that better protect users.
Provisions and Penalties of CAN-SPAM
The following are the main provisions of the CAN-SPAM Act, followed by the penalties arising from violating these provisions:
Users can protect themselves from receiving spam emails by practicing some simple safety measures, as articulated in the following checklist:
If you are interested in researching other ways to protect yourself from spam, as well as receiving updates on the best in current anti-spam software, here is a short list of reliable sources you can use: