government regulation doesnt work!
Expert: Anti-spam rules likely ineffective By Mike Sakal, Tribune February 7, 2006
Recent efforts by federal law enforcement to curb bulk e-mails X called spam X probably wont make much difference to the average computer user, local Internet providers and computer experts said.
An estimated 80 percent to 85 percent of all e-mail is spam, said Lee Burton, chief engineer at Scottsdale-based Extreme Internet.
Hackers are moving away from just doing it for fun, Burton said.
They now are doing it as a business and making a big profit from it. Spamming is an international problem, and I dont think laws in the United States are going to stop it.
But that hasnt stopped the government from trying.
In 2003, Congress passed the CAN-SPAM Act, which allows law enforcement agencies to prosecute, fine and imprison those who send out unsolicited and fraudulent emails. The acronym stands for Controlling the Assault on Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing.
Last week, federal officials announced their second successful conviction under the law.
Kirk Rogers, 43, of Manhattan Beach, Calif. pleaded guilty in the U.S. District Court of Arizona to aiding and abetting a group that spammed more than 1 million users with pornographic emails and netted more than $1 million, court documents show.
Rogers joins Scottsdale resident Andrew Ellifson, who pleaded guilty last year in the same case, making him the first convicted in the nation under the new law.
Both are scheduled to be sentenced on June 5 and face up to five years in prison.
U.S. Attorney Paul Charlton of the District of Arizona said that his office plans to focus on larger spam rings and groups that peddle pornography, mostly through complaints from the public.
Spam e-mails are kind of a home invasion, Charlton said.
They range from being anything from a mere nuisance to a true threat. We hope to have an effect on cutting down on the amount of spam thats sent out.
The task is daunting. The Internet Crime Complaint Center receives more than 17,000 spam complaints every month from consumers alone, the FBI reports.
Our goal is to make the Internet a safe environment for children and consumers and stop these sophisticated spam rings from making large profits. We plan to decrease the large amount of major spam e-mail operations by effectively prosecuting those involved in them. We think the law will be an effective tool.
Partha Dasgupta, a computer security and operating systems professor at Arizona State University, said it will be difficult to reduce the spam problem simply by targeting Americans.
To send spam, these people are using off-shore sites on hijacked computers, so it cant be found out whos doing it, Dasgupta said.
Technology upgrades may also help. America Online Inc. reported that spam e-mail sent to its users decreased by 75 percent between 2004 and last year because of new antispam software.
Contact Mike Sakal by telephone at (480) 970-2324.