Sunday, April 03, 2005

CLE Program: Spam-Fighting Technologies and Their Legal Implications


The Saturday Morning Panel Posted by Hello

Elizabeth Bowles, Chair of the Working Group on Spam and Unsolicited Electronic Marketing, led the CLE program on Saturday morning concerning Spam technologies and how they can lead to under-appreciated legal implications.

Program materials are available here (ABA membership required). A copy of the program slides can be found here. A copy of the Complaint filed in the Ambrogi suit mentioned during the presentation can be found here.

Joining Elizabeth were:
  • Michael F. Fleming, Attorney, (a/k/a your humble reporter), Larkin Hoffman Daly & Lindgren Ltd., Minneapolis, MN
  • Henry L. (Hank) Judy, Of Counsel, Kirkpatrick & Lockhart Nicholson Graham, LLP, Washington, D.C.,
  • John R. Levine, Principal, Taughannock Networks, Trumansburg, NY
  • Colleen B. Robbins, Staff Attorney, Federal Trade Commission, Marketing Practices, Washington, D.C.,
  • Michael Spooner, Senior Market Analyst, Vircom, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Our three guests brought their various perspectives to the problem. Ms. Robbins discussed her views on the current CAN SPAM efforts at the FTC as well as future enforcement possibilities. Mr. Spooner discussed the current technologies offered by companies such as his own, and how they work and the pitfalls one gets in relying on them. Mr. Levine looked forward to technologies of the near future, but also cautioned that we still have no silver bullet for the problem (if anything because, to quote Mr. Spooner, "One guy's spam is another guy's ham.").

Finally, Hank and Michael made the jump from the technologies to the practice of law -- what presumptions of fact should we drop, what strategies can we implement? Hank primarily concentrated on the single biggest problem that e-mail inherently has (that it's always had, but which is made worse with the growth in the use of spam filtering technology) -- Did it get there in the first place? If so, when? What evidence might we have to show that it did? Michael went through a contract-based strategy that might be used where parties to a communication have strong need for proving receipt or the like (see the materials!) -- and then made clear that all of this strategy presumes that the parties have, one way or the other, been willing to cooperate with each other outside of the e-mail system alone. None of the contract strategy means a thing in a transaction that is purely e-mail based.


Warren Agin said...

copyright credit please. - Warren

Michael Fleming said...

Photography copyright 2005 Warren Agin. All rights reserved.

Photograph conceived by, directed by, framed by, scripted by, processed by, edited by, color corrected by, cropped by and approved by Michael Fleming.

Anonymous said...

the materials for the program - in the book distributed on site and on the CD distributed at registration, and online at the ABA site - are really first rate. They are a thorough education in both the technology and the legal issues, with ways forward in both (while acknowledging and foreshadowing some of the issues that lurk out there that have not yet been mined by the thoughtful explorers of Elizabeth's working group and the volunteers.) Congratulations to all involved in producing them.