CAN-SPAM: What went wrong?

Failure of law to deter spammers shows limits of U.S. legislation in a world of global cybercrimeFive years ago, the U.S. tech industry, politicians and Internet users were wringing their hands over the escalating problem of spam.Back then, 45% of all e-mails were unwanted pitches for such products as Viagra, penny stocks or porn sites. An estimated 15 billion spam messages were sent over the Internet daily in 2003, prompting 74% of online adults to favor a law that would make mass spamming illegal.Statistics like these prompted Congress to pass a landmark antispam bill known as the CAN-SPAM Act in December 2003.Fast forward five years.The number of spam messages sent over the Internet every day has grown more than 10-fold, topping 164 billion worldwide in August 2008. Almost 97% of all e-mails are spam, costing U.S. ISPs and corporations an estimated $42 billion a year.

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