US laws will not deter spammers, says Gartner

Enterprises should not rely on US law to prevent the flow of spam into their mailboxes, research company Gartner claimed.

Enterprises should not rely on US law to prevent the flow of spam into their mailboxes, research company Gartner claimed.

Instead they should rely on their own resources, such as good e-mail management practices and the use of appropriate spam-filtering technology, Gartner said.

"Enterprises should not expect federal legislation to solve their inbound spam filtering problem," Gartner said.

"The Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act [Can-Spam] will not change spammer behaviour. However, it will cause increased scrutiny of all e-mail."

The Can-Spam bill overrides anti-spam laws passed in individual US states, many of which are more stringent than Can-Spam.

According to Gartner, the effects of the law will include:

  • e-mail marketers no longer have to comply with 36 state laws and, although the bill requires a valid opt-out mechanism, it does not make clear who should be responsible for implementing the unsubscribe or do-not-contact request
  • businesses, internet service providers and suppliers filtering inbound e-mail will have to develop increasingly sophisticated technology and practices to decide between legitimate advertising material and spam, both of which will have to carry the "ADV" tag in the subject line
  • disreputable spammers will ignore the legislation and if they feel under threat, will use offshore ISPs beyond the reach of US jurisdiction to send material.

The Can-Spam bill, which was passed by the US Senate in November, requires approval by the House of Representatives before it can be signed into law by president George Bush.

David Legard writes for IDG News Service

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