CAN-SPAM: CAN-SPAM, or Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act, is a federal act passed by Congress in 2003 that governs the ways in which marketers can send email solicitations. As the name implies, the act seeks to limit the amount of spam emails that internet users see by imposing laws to punish deceptive marketing tactics.
Spam emails, for the most part, are unwanted junk emails that can contain false information, malicious links, and phishing attempts that seek users' personal information. Spam derives its name from the canned lunch meat of the same name, which a Monty Python sketch once referred to as "ubiquitous and unavoidable." The same description applies to email spam.
CAN-SPAM compliance requires emails to have visible and operable "Unsubscribe" options, a body with at least one complete sentence, accurate "from" lines, and relevant subject lines, among other requirements. A common example of a punishable offense includes sending multiple spam emails from a hijacked computer or misleading Internet Protocol (IP) address. Unsubscribe options that don't honor "opt-outs" within 10 days are also subject to fines.
While it doesn't completely ban spam email, CAN-SPAM seeks to make businesses more accountable for their email practices. The provisions of the act, which is the first of its kind to establish commercial email standards, are enforced by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Fines for violators are a maximum of $11,000 per incident; repeat offenders could face jail time. The first person to be arrested under the act was Anthony Greco, an 18-year-old from Cheektowaga, NY, in February 2004. CAN-SPAM uses both criminal and civil enforcement.