FTC Completes Review of CAN-SPAM Rule

Compliance & Governance Update: FTC & CAN-SPAM

The Federal Trade Commission announced on February 12, 2019 that it has completed its first review of the CAN-SPAM Rule, which establishes requirements for commercial e-mail messages and gives recipients the right to opt out of receiving them. The Commission voted to keep the Rule with no changes.

The Rule requires that a commercial e-mail contain accurate header and subject lines, identify itself as an advertisement, include a valid physical address, and offer recipients a way to opt out of future messages. As part of its regular, systematic review of all its rules and guides, the FTC in June 2017 sought public comment on the Rule, including whether it is still needed, the costs and benefits of the Rule, and whether changes needed to be made to the Rule in response to technological and economic developments. The FTC also sought comment on three specific issues related to the CAN-SPAM Rule, including whether the Commission should change the categories of messages treated as “transaction or relationship messages,” shorten the time period for processing opt-out requests, or specify additional activities or practices that might be considered as aggravated violations.

The FTC received 92 comments, which overwhelmingly favored keeping the Rule. After reviewing the comments, the Commission concluded that the Rule does benefit consumers and does not impose substantial economic burdens, and that no changes to the Rule were needed at this time.

The Commission voted 5-0 to approve publication of the confirmation of the Rule in the Federal Register. It will be published in the Federal Register shortly.

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