Since its passage in 2003, the CAN-SPAM Act has imposed legal limitations on the marketing emails your accounting firm sends to clients and other recipients. Now the Federal Trade Commission is getting ready to tweak the law after reviewing input from the public.
It’s not the first time CAN-SPAM has been reviewed and updated. Previous revisions addressed issues such as the requirement that marketers provide a way for email recipients to opt out of receiving future communications, allowable time frames for processing such requests and the distinction between commercial and non-commercial emails (and therefore which are covered under the law).
Acting FTC Chair Maureen Ohlhausen announced the review, pointing out that “Regulations can be important tools in protecting consumers, but when they are outdated, excessive, or unnecessary, they can create significant burdens on the U.S. economy, with little benefit.” The periodic reviews are intended to allow assessment of current needs to protect consumers, technology changes that may affect spam-related issues and the challenges that compliance poses for businesses.
Opinions of the law range widely, with consumers generally believing it insufficiently protects them from unwanted emails and many businesses asserting that complying with CAN-SPAM is costly and cumbersome. Whichever side you come down on, this is your opportunity to share your opinion about how well the law is working and changes you’d like to see.
The one fact that most can agree on is that email spam is a problem. In its 2017 Annual Cybersecurity Report, respected technology company Cisco suggests that 65% of all email qualifies as spam. That includes phishing, malicious emails and other criminal activity as well as unwanted marketing emails, so it’s not entirely fair to blame CAN-SPAM for inboxes bursting with spam. Even so, the figure hasn’t dropped very much since the law’s creation, when the figure was estimated to be around 70%.
To voice your opinion, go to the FTC’s CAN-SPAM Rule Review comment form and share your experience, along with your ideas for making the legislation more effective and less burdensome for your accounting firm. Comments will be accepted until August 31, 2017. While you may not get everything you wish for, the FTC does take this input into consideration when crafting updates. You might as well tell those who write the law what you think, because who knows – they just might take your advice!