Feeds

SEXUALLY-EXPLICIT: FTC labels porno spam

e-brown paper bag

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

The US Federal Trade Commission is to enforce the labelling of spam containing pornographic content.

From 19 May, spam that contains sexually oriented material must include the warning "SEXUALLY-EXPLICIT:"; in the subject line. The senders face fines for violations of the recently-introduced CAN-SPAM Act.

The "SEXUALLY-EXPLICIT:" label will make it easier for ISPs and users to filter out salacious material. The proposal is the brainchild of the Federal Trade Commission, which was authorised by last December's CAN-SPAM Act to come up with a plan to place tighter controls on emails punting pornographic content.

The FTC describes the label as the electronic equivalent of a "brown paper wrapper". This is what a recipient will see initially when opening a message containing sexually oriented material. The brown paper wrapper will "include the prescribed mark or notice, certain other specified information, and no other information or images". In other words, no pornographic pictures should be contained in the spam.

Advertisers of pornographic content are prohibited from using rude words in the subject line of sexually explicit images. The consultation also prompted the FTC to close a possible loophole in its porno email- labelling plan: the mark must involve characters from the ASCII character set, a move designed to prevent porno spammers from rendering the label in unreadable form.

Although CAN-SPAM has had little effect on the junk mail tsunami it has created a firm legal basis for ISPs to haul prolific spammers into court for misrepresenting the content of their junk mail (e.g. by spoofing the From: line in emails).

Rules for labelling porno email come against a backdrop of the increased prevalence of sexually explicit emails. Mail filtering outfit Brightmail reports that 15 per cent of the email it blocked last month contained adult material, making it the third most prevalent type of spam content behind general product and financial junk mail.

Children receive an average of 10 pornographic emails every week, according to a survey by email filtering outfit KidsGuard out today. ®

Related stories

Congress passes anti-spam bill
Spammers not deterred by Can Spam Act
Big US ISPs set legal attack dogs on big, bad spammers
UK anti-spam law goes live
UK.biz largely indifferent to spam tsunami

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
George Clooney, WikiLeaks' lawyer wife hand out burner phones to wedding guests
Day 4: 'News'-papers STILL rammed with Clooney nuptials
Shellshock: 'Larger scale attack' on its way, warn securo-bods
Not just web servers under threat - though TENS of THOUSANDS have been hit
Apple's new iPhone 6 vulnerable to last year's TouchID fingerprint hack
But unsophisticated thieves need not attempt this trick
PEAK IPV4? Global IPv6 traffic is growing, DDoS dying, says Akamai
First time the cache network has seen drop in use of 32-bit-wide IP addresses
Oracle SHELLSHOCKER - data titan lists unpatchables
Database kingpin lists 32 products that can't be patched (yet) as GNU fixes second vuln
Who.is does the Harlem Shake
Blame it on LOLing XSS terroristas
Researchers tell black hats: 'YOU'RE SOOO PREDICTABLE'
Want to register that domain? We're way ahead of you.
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.