FTC Trumpets Anti-Spam Campaign

03 April 2002

The US Federal Trade Commission has unveiled the initial results of its Netforce campaign to improve the hitherto lax regulation of unsolicited email, or ‘spam’, highlighting a series of successes.

Conducted with eight US state law enforcers and four from Canada, the campaign has resulted in action against 63 online deceptions and over 500 letters warning spammers they are breaking the law.

One widespread complaint was the use of bogus ‘unsubscribe’ options in emails that otherwise conformed to FTC regulations – an offence now deemed worthy of prosecution. The agency has contacted 75 emailers informing them that their opt-out mechanisms do not work, threatening them with court action.

Lawsuits have already been issued against four spammers, including a pyramid investment scheme which offered email recipients the unlikely return of $46,000 within three months on an investment of just $500.

However, the FTC warned that other watchdogs needed to take similar action. “Illegal internet schemes and deceptive spam don't stop at state lines or international borders,” warned J Howard Beales, director of the agency’s Bureau of Consumer Protection.

Data sourced from: AdAge.com; BBC Online Business News (UK); additional content by WARC staff