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Given at a Full Committee Hearing:
CAN-SPAM Act
Thursday, May 20 2004 - 10:15 AM - SR - 253

The Testimony of
Mr. Shinya Akamine
President & CEO, Postini Inc.

To date, the CAN-SPAM act has had no substantial impact on the flow of spam. In fact, in the four months since CAN-SPAM went into effect, spam has increased from 78% to 83% of messages processed by Postini.

Although they have garnered headlines, ISPs’ recent lawsuits against alleged spammers are mostly “John Doe”, highlighting the root problem: proficient spammers know how to hide their identities by using a variety of techniques. In addition, many spammers are offshore, so they’re beyond the reach of U.S. law enforcement. Recent arrests are catching smalltime operators who are sending an insignificant amount of spam.

CAN-SPAM is a good law to have. The government should continue to enforce it and punish those spammers that can be found. But Americans should not rely solely on laws. Although it’s beneficial to have the laws on the books making spamming a crime, most spammers are criminals who are unconcerned about breaking the law.

The problems facing email go beyond just spam. Other malicious threats hurt the utility of email. Viruses are delivered primarily via email, and they are becoming more frequent and more destructive. Denial of Service attacks are attempts to crash email servers and disrupt communications. Directory Harvest Attacks are attempts to steal corporate directory information.

Spammers are modifying their messages to defeat traditional, or first-generation, anti-spam technologies that were primarily based on content analysis. Spam is becoming more personalized and unique. Spammers are also putting less and less content in their messages. Less content means less context for typical spam filters to assess.

Private sector companies like Postini have developed second-generation Email Security & Management solutions that render the spam problem, as well the other email threats, moot for their customers. Spam is a problem today only for companies and organizations that are unaware of – or unwilling to implement – one of today’s second-generation spam blocking solutions. Spam filters can cost just $1 per user per month, and the payback period for companies installing such filters is typically just 3 months. Postini has more than 3,000 customers today, with more than 5 million users, who have no spam problem.

Postini appreciates the Senate’s recognition of the important role that email plays in our world today and the passage of CAN-SPAM. Free enterprise will do the rest.