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Anti-Spam Laws may not Solve the Problem

The past week saw Bulgaria introducing new laws to tackle the spam menace. The new laws are included in the E-Trade Act passed in the Parliament. All those who send spam for business purposes will have to pay fines for doing so.
Another significant development was the wide spread protests sparked off by consumer activists who protested against AOL's decision to charge bulk e-mail. AOL's decision set off a debate with many activists saying that e-mail should move freely to enable people to build and maintain large communities over the Web.
Both these developments are aimed at stopping spammers from causing trouble to Internet users. Spam is being increasingly used as carriers of malware and spyware that convert the user's computer into a zombie and facilitates its use as a spam relay center.

But do these preventive measures really work. The US CAN-SPAM Act 2003 failed miserably to stop the spam problem. Experts believe that anti-spam technology has improved considerably over the past few years. But technology advancements or anti-spam laws have not been able to curb the rise in spam numbers. About 40 percent of all mail received by users across the globe is spam.

Legislative measures have been among the least effective methods to fight spam. This is because technology evolves quickly, and laws are often slow to keep up. Besides legislators leave large loopholes, which spammers exploit to continue their activities. Spam laws have mainly succeeded in pushing spammers offshore, outside of the jurisdiction of the law. Otherwise these laws prompt them to resort to quick attack-and-withdraw tactics from temporary accounts.

The payment based spam control techniques like the one employed by AOL would not be hugely popular among the public and business enterprises. Such methods may not be adopted by other service providers simply because they are controversial. While charging commercial bulk mail they may also end up charging spam mails of charitable institutions and other social organizations.

Related article: Anti-Virus Solutions Let In 80% Of New Malicious Code

» SPAMfighter News - 6/13/2006

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