CAN-SPAM Act continues to come up short in efforts to curb unsolicited email

Despite the upcoming three-year anniversary of the federal CAN-SPAM act, Barracuda Networks reports that spam is showing no signs of slowing down.

The CAN-SPAM act of 2003 (Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act), which was signed into law on Dec. 16, 2003, set up requirements for sending commercial email as well as determined penalties for spammers and companies whose products are advertised in spam if they violate the law. The act also gave consumers the right to ask emailers to stop spamming them. In the three years since the law went into effect, Barracuda Networks has found that spam has nearly tripled in volume and that the types of spam have also significantly increased.

“Total spam volume is very high, independent of any legislation, to the point where it now represents between 85 and 90 percent of all email on the Internet,” said Stephen Pao, vice president of product management for Barracuda Networks. “Even with the ongoing increases in “good’ email, we continue to see spam growth outpacing it.”

Just last month, Barracuda Networks reported a more than 67 percent increase in overall spam volume and a 500 percent increase in image spam since August. This increase is attributed to a number of trends, including the number of penny stock promotions and image-based spam, as well as an increase in shopping-related spam tailored around the holiday season, that Barracuda Central, an advanced technology operations center, has seen hitting the millions of inboxes of its more than 35,000 customers worldwide. This is a marked increase in the amount of spam hitting the Internet when compared with the volume three years ago when the CAN-SPAM act went into effect. At that time, industry estimates put total spam volume between 30 and 35 percent.

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