On January 1, 2004, the Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing (CAN-SPAM) Act, signed into law by President George W. Bush, went into effect. This act is arguably the first significant step the federal government has taken to help resolve the colossal "spam" problem facing computer users nationwide –­ and around the world. Although The CAN-SPAM Act does not illegalize "junk" e-mail, it does require spammers to shoulder more responsibility for their actions, including identifying themselves to the public and eliminating intentionally misleading subject lines. It also provides for violators to be prosecuted and fined up to $2 million.

The federal CAN-SPAM Act is a step in the right direction and will complement the 26 state anti-spam laws currently in effect; however, it is not an end-all solution to the problem. According to the Brightmail Logistics and Operations Center (BLOC), in November of 2003, 56 percent of all Internet e-mail was identified as spam. This staggering percentage underscores the scope and ramifications of the issue, an issue that information technology (IT) managers have been wrestling fruitlessly to control for quite some time. In an ideal world, there would be one easy fix –­ purchase an inexpensive piece of software and never get spam again! However, this is not an ideal world, and available technology still allows spammers to evade anti-spam software as easily as clicking the send/receive button.

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