In December of 2003, President Bush signed into law the "Can Spam" bill. This was to be the first national standard for bulk unsolicited commercial e-mails. Approved by the Senate 97-0, the bill prohibited senders of unsolicited commercial e-mail from using false return addresses to disguise their identity, other wise known as spoofing, Aside form unwanted spam, it also prohibited the use of misleading subject lines. This bill bought on what is know known as the 'double opt-in'. When requesting information on the Internet, or subscribing to a newsletter, you are asking to confirm your subscription. From that point on, each email you receive from them are required to include and opt-out mechanism. The legislation also prohibits senders from harvesting addresses off Web sites. Those that violate this spam law will be brought up on misdemeanor charges and subject to up to one year in jail.
So why is it still such a problem? There are always those that will find away around the system. For starters, it is difficult to track the origin of the spammer. They show up every day in your and my email box with throw away identities. It takes no time at all to create a bogus Gmail, Yahoo, or Hotmail email address … use it for a week and drop it. Move onto the next bogus address and start over.
Another reason is that the average computer user will purchase a anti spam program and think it will solve all problems. These are the same people that purchase an anti virus program and not keep it updated. While a program such as SpamBlocker and Polesoft can detect today's spam, Humans can learn the algorithm used by these programs. A common mis belief is that anti spam programs can 'learn' and grow. These programs will provide updates and new versions, but it takes YOUR diligence to keep on top of it.
White listing and black listing can help control who you do and do not get emails from. But as an end user, you could take things one step further by reporting it. This is one of the methods that I like the best. If you receive more spam emails, create an account at spamcop.net. There you can report obvious spam mail and they will send the report to the hosting company of the email used by the spammer. Now the hosting company's are obligated to take action by banning the account or even pressing charges.