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Trends, Spam, Privacy and Regulation


FTC Takes Action Against Misleading ‘Free Trial’ Offers

By partnering with Better Business Bureau and Visa, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) intends to educate people about deceptive ‘free trial’ offers, which can become expensive commitments in the long run.

Who doesn’t like to try out new products, especially if someone offers them free? We certainly do! However, the one thing you need to be careful about when signing up for a free trial is the terms and conditions. Because if you aren’t, you could find yourself signed up and, worse still, paying for a product or service that you really don’t want.

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Anti-spam Investigators Step Up Efforts

Regulators across the world are now taking the fight against spam more seriously than ever before and this was reflected in the Australian Communications and Media Authority’s successes earlier this month.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) recently achieved success in two different cases involving spammers. One case resulted in cumulative fines of $22 million, while the other involved bringing ‘the world’s biggest spammer’ to book.

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Proposed Legislation on Data Accountability

In a move that is aimed at offering more transparency, the US House of Representatives has approved a data accountability bill called the Data Accountability and Trust Act, which could become a law if passed by the Senate.

A few days ago, the House of Representatives passed a legislation that could have far reaching implications for those who deal in data or data brokers. Pending approval by the US Senate, the Data Accountability and Trust Act proposes two important requirements:

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Anti-Spam Movement Gets Traction Worldwide

In a demonstration of cross-border cooperation on the anti-spam front, regulators in the US, New Zealand and Australia come together to penalize the 'world’s biggest spammer'.

US authorities recently fined Lance Atkinson, considered by many to be the world’s biggest spammer, $16 million for being the brains behind the largest spam operation to date. It is believed that Atkinson and his associates were capable of sending over 10 billion emails a day to Internet users across the world. These emails invariably linked to websites that would sell prescription drugs and other fraudulent weight-loss and ‘enhancement’ pills.

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A Spam ‘Godfather’ Falls

Anti-spam efforts have borne fruit with the ‘Godfather’ of spam being sentenced to over 4 years in jail.

It is said that when a giant falls, we all feel the ground shake; and this is exactly what happened when Alan Ralsky, possibly amongst the biggest spammers ever, was indicted for mail fraud. He was sentenced to over 4 years in prison along with his accomplices for persistently sending unsolicited junk email over a sustained period of time.

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