First Advisor

Scott Cunningham

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Criminology and Criminal Justice


Criminology and Criminal Justice




Spam (Electronic mail) -- Law and legislation -- United States -- Evaluation, Electronic mail messages -- Law and legislation -- United States, Internet fraud -- United States



Physical Description

1 online resource (ii, 109 p.) : ill. (some col.)


In January 2004, the United States Congress passed and put into effect the Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act (CAN SPAM). The Act was set forth to regulate bulk commercial email (spam) and set the limits for what was acceptable. Various sources have since investigated and speculated on the efficacy of the CAN SPAM Act, few of which report a desirable outcome for users of electronic mail. Despite the apparent consensus of anti-spam firms and the community of email users that the Act was less than effective, there is little to no research on the efficacy of the Act that utilizes any significant statistical rigor or accepted scientific practices. The present study seeks to determine what, if any, impact the CAN SPAM act had on spam messages, to identify areas of improvement to help fight spam that is both fraudulent and dangerous. The data consisted of 2,071,965 spam emails sent between February 1, 1998 and December 31, 2008. The data were aggregated by month and an interrupted time series design was chosen to assess the impact the CAN SPAM Act had on spam. Analyses revealed that the CAN SPAM Act had no observable impact on the amount of spam sent and received; no impact on two of three CAN SPAM laws complied with among spam emails, the remaining law of which there was a significant decrease in compliance after the Act; and no impact on the number of spam emails sent from within the United States. Implications of these findings and suggestions for policy are discussed.


In Copyright. URI: This Item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s).


Hatfield School of Government. Division of Criminology and Criminal Justice

Persistent Identifier