Tuesday, April 02, 2002

international spam fighters
On the heels of an article in yesterday's LA Times entitled State Spam Laws Rarely Enforced comes news of a new initiative from the FTC, and a multistate task force.

The Times article pointed at Delaware's spam law as one of the toughest in the states, and noted that it had never been used in a criminal prosecution.

The federal government seems to be looking to address the difficulties that the states have been having locating spammers. Working with a number of states, and four Canadian agencies, this international netforce has started a serious effort to stem the rising tide of unsolicited commercial emails.
Partners in the International Netforce include the Alaska Attorney General, the Alaska State Troopers, the Alberta Government Services, the British Columbia Securities Commission, the British Columbia Solicitor General, Canada's Competition Bureau, the Federal Trade Commission, the Idaho Attorney General, the Montana Department of Administration, the Oregon Department of Justice, the Washington Attorney General, the Washington State Department of Financial Institutions, and the Wyoming Attorney General.
It's good to see an international group working together on a problem that will probably only grow in magnitude.

Wired gives a good explaination of why the group has choosen now to take action:
Since the beginning of 1998, the FTC said people have forwarded 10 million spam messages to uce@ftc.gov, the address for the agency's junk e-mail database.

But the all-time biggest month, Harwood said, was March. Following a publicity campaign to draw attention to the junk e-mail problem, the agency received 1 million forwarded spams in that month alone.
While the ultimate solution to spam may require legislation, or some way of changing the way that the internet actually works, without an enforcement effort of some type, any legislation is doomed to fail.

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