FTC Establishes Spam Task Force

NEW YORK The Federal Trade Commission has established a task force comprised of 136 federal and state law enforcement personnel in 36 states to combat spam, or unwanted commercial e-mail.

The task force will conduct monthly conference calls to share information on spam trends, technologies, investigative techniques, targets and cases, FTC chairman Timothy Muris told the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation today.

Muris also informed the committee that the FTC is on track to complete the array of rule makings and reports required by the CAN-SPAM Act, which took effect Jan. 1. Earlier this week, the FTC issued a rule that requires all e-mail messages containing sexually oriented material to include the warning “Sexually-Explicit:” in the subject line.

A report is scheduled for Sept. 16 that will propose a system of monetary rewards to encourage informants to report CAN-SPAM violators. Another one is due June 16, 2005, recommending whether commercial e-mails’ subject line should be labeled “ADV.” And a report is due Dec. 16, 2005, on the efficacy of the act.

The FTC also told the committee that it sought public comments and held meetings with interested parties to explore technical, security, privacy and enforceability issues associated with a do-not-e-mail registry. Under the CAN-SPAM Act, the FTC was directed to report to Congress on the feasibility of such a registry, similar to the national do-not-call list intended to shield consumers from unwanted telemarketing solicitations.