The federal CAN-SPAM (Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing) Act of 2003 requires spammers to provide an unsubscribe option in their messages and prescribes penalties for those who ignore such requests. The problem with the law, according to
president Michael Herrick, is that users must document violations if they want to see punishment doled out, and few of us have the time and energy to keep such records. That’s where his company’s spam filter,
Spamfire, comes into play. It automates the spam un-subscription process and passes evidence of repeat offenders to
SpamCrime Reporter, a new addition to the software in version 1.5.
“The new law hasn’t stopped a single spam so far, and it won’t stop any spam in the future without an aggressive enforcement effort,” said Herrick. “SpamCrime is designed to collect evidence from spam victims and put it into the hands of attorneys general and class-action lawyers. Spamfire will identify the spam, pull it out of your account, unsubscribe you, and report unsubscribe violations to SpamCrime.”
Spamfire logs into your e-mail account and flags the messages it thinks are spam, diverting them to a list within the application. It then gives way to your regular e-mail client, which downloads the remaining messages. You can always check Spamfire’s list to make sure it didn’t inadvertently flag a good message, and you have the freedom to change the application’s filters to your liking or even create your own. You decide how aggressively it hunts down spam, and automatic filter updates from Matterform keep you on top of the latest spam tricks.
Spamfire also automatically sends out unsubscribe requests and notes any future spam sent in violation of CAN-SPAM. It turns those e-mails over to SpamCrime Reporter, which then sends them to Matterform. The company looks at the spammers who won’t honor unsubscribe requests after a reasonable amount of time, researches the responsible party, and turns all the information over to the appropriate authorities.
Spamfire is available as a demo that will maintain one e-mail account and download one filter update. After it expires in 15 days, you can purchase a serial number for the Lite (US$24.95) or Pro ($39.95) version. Lite doesn’t include automatic filter updates from Matterform while Pro includes a one-year subscription for them; renewals are $12 a year.
System requirements call for a POP3, IMAP, or Hotmail e-mail account; Spamfire isn’t compatible with AOL or Web-based e-mail accounts. It works with any e-mail client, with additional integration features available for Eudora, Entourage, Outlook Express, Netscape, Mac OS X Mail, PowerMail, and QuickMail. You need to have Mac OS 9.1 or Mac OS X v10.1 or higher. SpamCrime’s unsubscribe feature doesn’t work in Mac OS 9.