16 CFR Part 316; CAN-SPAM Rule: Rule Review; Request for Public Comments; Project No. R711010
America should go to an "opt-in" model, like Canada, instead of the current "opt-out" scheme. But even if special interests (e.g., the Direct Marketing Association) make that impossible, the rules should allow for recipients of spam to enforce opt-out requests. Currently, only the government and ISPs have standing to enforce CAN-SPAM, and ISPs have no interest in enforcing opt-out requests, and an uphill battle to prove that their customers' rights were violated even if an ISP chose to do so. Too many companies refuse to honor opt-out requests, and the recipients of spam have no way assert their rights to not be bothered, except to complain to the FTC (which has never sued to enforce CAN-SPAM's opt-out provisions, as far as I am aware). The empirical data shows that making an opt-out request is more likely to result in an increase in unwanted email than any reduction. Where is the incentive for a company to follow the law if no one is going to enforce the law? Allowing this loophole leaves an uneven competitive field for businesses, because the businesses who follow the law are undermined by the shady businesses that skirt the law.