The FTC told Congress that the federal CAN-SPAM Act and technological advances have cut into the amount of spam U.S. PC users receive. The commission recommended further legislative action and increased user education to combat spam.
"We're using technology and teamwork in the battle against illegal spam," said Lydia Parnes, director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection. "Taken together, they are helping us combat the outlaw spammers who disregard laws designed to prevent fraud and protect consumers' rights."
The FTC has brought 21 cases targeting spammers to court since the enactment of CAN-SPAM. It filed 62 others before the law's enactment.
The commission also advised Congress to enact the U.S. Safe Web Act, which would make it easier for FTC officials to trace spammers outside of U.S. borders. Leaders from both the public and private sectors should continue to educate the public about spam, spyware and sexually-explicit internet material, the commission added.
The government is making strides in the fight against spam but shouldn't declare victory just yet, said Tom Gillis, senior vice president of worldwide marketing for IronPort Systems.
Gillis said his company had seen a drop in overall spam email, but also witnessed an increase in spam sent to broadband and enterprise users, indicating that spammers were also changing tactics, he said.
"We are seeing a shift. More and more we are seeing blended threats," Gillis said. "We've also seen a 200-percent increase in email containing spyware."