Headquartered in Washington, D.C., this agency developed a national spam database in 2003. The FTC asked email users disgusted with spam to forward their received spam messages so that the FTC could better track the problem nationally. The FTC affirmed that in one year alone, it receives more than 17 million complaints about spam, and almost 110,000 complaints daily.
Prior to the CAN-SPAM Act’s passage, on April 17, 2003, the FTC asked an Illinois judge to block a spam operation using a combination of bland subject lines, fake return addresses, and fake “reply to” links to “con” naÃ¯ve clients to visit sites offering pornographic material. Saying that the deceptive practices violated the Federal Trade Commission Act (FTC Act), the FTC alleged that Brian Westby utilized the spam operation to increase business to his adult Website called “Married But Lonely.” When consumers opened their email messages, they were faced with sexually explicit invitations to visit Westby’s Website. In some cases, the FTC argued, consumers may have opened the offensive emails in their offices at work, thereby committing unintentional violation of companies’ acceptable use policies. In other cases, said the FTC, children may have been exposed to highly pornographic material. Equally as disturbing, noted the FTC, when consumers used the given email address or link to have themselves withdrawn from the distribution list, they got an error response; they were, in fact, unable to “unsubscribe.”
Farrell, C. FTC Asks Court to Block Deceptive Spam Operation. [Online, April 17, 2003.] Federal Trade Commission Website. http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2003/04/westby. htm; Morano, M. E-Mail Spamming, Spoofing Growing ‘Like Weeds in Yard.’ [Online, April 22, 2003.] Cybercast News Service Website. http://www.cnsnews.com/ViewCulture.asp?Page= %5CCulture%5Carchive%5C20030422a.html.