The Federal Trade Commission, the agency in charge of fighting spam, reported in late December that the problem of unsolicited e-mail is shrinking. “We’re making progress,” says Lydia Parnes, director of the FTC Bureau of Consumer Protection.
According to the FTC, antispam filtering technology and the two-year-old Can-Spam Act (under which the government has sued about 50 spammers) have cut down on the amount of spam.
Computer users and antispam vendors are not as cheery. “The FTC might be seeing less spam, but I’m not,” says Don Smutny, a website administrator and software developer. He says his employer uses spam-filtering technology. That catches about 75 percent of spam, but the total amount of spam coming into the company has not decreased.
Managing spam still costs businesses and Internet service providers significant money, says Ray Everett-Church, counsel for the Coalition Against Unsolicited Commercial E-mail and author of the book Fighting Spam for Dummies.Scott Chasin, CTO for e-mail defense company MX Logic, observes there is less spam in the e-mails his company scans, but that doesn’t mean the problem is going away.
“Overall, the majority of [e-mail] traffic on the Internet is still spam-related,” he says.