A special subcommittee of the United Nations called an urgent meeting in July 2004. The team of international experts convened in Geneva, Switzerland, to formulate battle plans against what one leader called “a disease which has spread around the world. We have an epidemic on our hands which we need to control.”
The UN committee was not charged with fighting AIDS or SARS or hepatitis. The experts, all part of a working group of the UN’s International Telecommunications Union (ITU), were there to defeat spam. According to the ITU, spam costs nations worldwide $25 billion each year.
Yet the international team was confident that, with the right technology and international cooperation, spam could be brought under control by 2006.
As of this writing (September, 2004), the global spam problem appears to be getting little help from CAN-SPAM. The volume of junk email hitting in-boxes has risen since the new U.S. law took effect on January 1, 2004. (Spam-filtering firm Brightmail says spam now composes 65 percent of email traffic, up from 60 percent in January.)
Meanwhile, few junk emailers are complying with the new regulations. One study declared that less than 3 percent of all spam is fully in compliance with CAN-SPAM. Another analysis found that even legitimate marketers are slow to adhere to the law. Only 36 percent of the email offers from mainstream companies meets CAN-SPAM’s requirements.
Yet in Australia, a tougher, opt-in spam law seems to be making a difference. ...