A Summary of Anti Spam Laws
In 2003, Congress passed the Controlling Assault on Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act, which established the first national standards for commercial e-mail. The law gives consumers the right to sue if they receive even one piece of unsolicited pornographic material. This act requires the Federal Trade Commission to enforce the new laws. But there are many questions still unanswered. Here is a summary of anti spam laws:
Unsolicited commercial email is legal in the U.S.
Despite the widespread use of unsolicited commercial e-mail (also known as spam), there is little consensus about what constitutes spam. While some e-mails do have a legitimate business purpose, others are simply fraudulent or even illegal. Florida’s Electronic Mail Communications Act makes it illegal to send unsolicited commercial e-mail, as well as to distribute software designed to falsify headers to disguise the true source.
Despite these legal requirements, some anti-spam groups contend that the U.S. CAN-SPAM Act should go further. For example, the European Union bans commercial e-mail that does not require the recipient to opt-in. Some anti-spam groups contend that this would harm businesses that respect consumer preferences, while protecting businesses that do not. In their letter to several Members of Congress, eight consumer organizations argued that a mandatory opt-out process would undermine those companies that do respect consumer preferences.
CAN-SPAM gives consumers the right to sue if they receive just one piece of unmarked, unsolicited pornographic material
CAN-SPAM also protects online groups. Since the primary purpose of email sent to such groups is not commercial, initiators and senders of such messages must follow the law. As such, listserv moderators must be cautious about manually forwarding emails, as it could put them at risk for CAN-SPAM liability.
Under CAN-SPAM, companies are required to include a valid physical address and comply with U.S. Postal Service registration requirements. In some cases, spammers have been found guilty of violating the law if they receive even one piece of unmarked, unsolicited pornographic material. Even if you have received only one piece of unsolicited pornographic material in a single day, you have the right to file a lawsuit.
The CAN-SPAM law requires email marketers to provide consumers with a way to opt out of future marketing communications. While most unsubscribe options will work automatically, some may require consumers to log into their account before they can unsubscribe. Moreover, it is illegal to charge consumers for opt-out requests or to require personal information before providing them with unsubscribe options. In fact, all opt-out requests should be as simple as replying to an email or visiting one page on a website.
Under CAN-SPAM, email recipients must provide their consent before receiving marketing emails. These consents can be implied or explicit, depending on whether the consumer is an existing customer or has previously transacted with a company. In addition, recipients must have the ability to opt-out at any time and must be removed from marketing lists within ten days. In some cases, the sender may be able to prove their consent by storing the consent in a secure location.
Cost to consumers
The cost of spam to consumers is estimated at $14 billion per year, but some have questioned how effective these laws are. In 2005, Ferris Research estimated that spam costs the world $50 billion annually. By 2007, that figure had risen to $100 billion. In 2009, the cost was a staggering $130 billion. The cost of spam is not only a burden on consumers, but also on the advertising industry, which bears the cost of creating and distributing the advertisements.
The cost of spam to consumers is primarily in the attention and time consumers spend interacting with it. While spam is a nuisance, it is not a disease. In contrast, air pollution kills people. So, imposing anti spam laws will likely increase the cost of the products and services that spammers provide to U.S. consumers. And enforcing these laws may make spam more profitable. In the meantime, consumers will have to pay higher subscription rates to avoid the extra fees.
Japan’s anti-spam law
The latest edition of Japan’s anti-spam law prohibits commercial email sent to a Japanese address without the sender’s explicit consent. The law requires both Senders and recipients to act affirmatively and voluntarily in order to receive commercial emails. This law has implications for businesses and individuals alike. Japan is far behind the U.S. when it comes to addressing spam, so the new law is a welcome addition.
The new anti-spam law applies to all companies and foreigners that send emails from Japan. This means that even foreign companies and individuals can be held responsible for sending unsolicited emails to Japanese email addresses. The new law also bans the practice of offering recipients any type of grace period to opt out of receiving emails. While spam filters have been improving in recent years, next-generation spam may look quite different. But for now, the new law offers a strong deterrent for sending spam.
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