|Received:||3/19/2004 1:54:42 PM|
|Agency:||Federal Trade Commission|
Question A1: The primary purpose of an email can be determined as commercial if it is sent as a non-solicited email and requests a monetary transaction from the recipient. Question D1: Aggravated violations should also include browser hijacking (resetting of home pages, spawning of unclosable web pages, etc.) and occurences of reselling email address data without the user's consent (i.e. if party A provides party B with specific email address data, they should be obligated to send out a notice to their list members informing them of the transfer of information and allowing them to request not to be a part of the list provided to party B) Question D2: Spyware should be targeted under new technologies that should be investigated. Questions E1& E3: E1 is unclear...it should be clarified to deliniate if the forwarding is *incented* (entry/additional entry in a sweepstakes, concrete $ value attached to how many people the individual forwards the message, etc.). In this case, I would clarify the act to prohibit such incenting. Forward to friends should be clearly be a function utilized for informational purposes, not for the forwarding party's financial benefit. In a similar vein for E3, the *original* sender should be obligated to comply with the act as such, but enforcing the law for individual senders would be prohibitively cumbersome. However, should forward to a friend be utilized in such a manner that allows for mass distribution from unknown parties, there must be some provision to enforce spamming laws upon the person forwarding the message. It should be the responsibility of the original sender to implement such technology within the forwarding mechanism to prohibit mass distribution. Finally, all forwarded messages should be labeled as a message from the original sender (as the 'from" address & name) and clearly state who is forwarding the message to the recipient. Question F1: Do not reward those who report information; this would lead to a flood of reports akin to the debacle that Yahoo experienced when offering a sweeps entry when reporting messages as spam...consumers will be predisposed to labeling messages as spam just for the sake of the rewards, rather than on legitimate practices of the sender. The effectiveness of CAN-SPAM can be enhanced by requiring parties who distribute email to maintain opt-in records of their database. The required information to be stored should be email address, opt-in date and any opt-out date. Subject line labeling should be rigorously applied to unsolicited email. Labels such as "ADULT" and "ADV" applied to non-opt-in messages would allow for much easier filtering of spam for consumers. Finally, a confirmed opt-in or double opt-in standard should be enforced. Sending parties should be obligated to communicate with their list members upon initial signup to ensure they are aware of and approve of their membership within that particular list. And referring to the previous point, confirmation messages should be specifically labeled as such.