FTC Attorney to Legit Marketers: You Could Be Next

The Federal Trade Commission is “likely” to begin prosecuting spam cases against players who aren’t committing fraud, including legitimate companies. That’s according to FTC staff attorney Lisa Rosenthal, who spoke at the Institute for Spam and Public Policy conference in San Francisco Friday.

“It’s likely we’re not going to be limiting our enforcement in the future to fraudulent cases,” said Rosenthal. “It’s likely we’ll be looking at legitimate companies.”

Rosenthal said email marketers on the commission’s radar are those who fail to include a postal address in their messages or who fail to incorporate valid opt-out instructions. “All of this is required by the law,” she said. “Our job is to enforce compliance.”

Until now, the FTC has concentrated on bringing cases against senders of fraudulent or deceptive spam, largely because they could be prosecuted under existing laws before the CAN-SPAM Act went into effect. However, by the end of the year, the commission must report to Congress about its progress in enforcing the law, giving it an incentive to expand the range of its prosecutions.

In its most recent action, the FTC initiated its first suit against alleged violators of the adult content provisions of CAN-SPAM earlier this month.

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