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Edit: I missed the transactional part here. Transactional emails are excluded from CAN-SPAM. There's a test to figure out which is which: http://www.the-dma.org/press/PrimaryPurposeFactSheet.pdf

It's shitty UX regardless of whether it's a violation of law, IMO.

Original: It's a violation of CAN-SPAM law to put unsubscribe behind a login process. Asking for a password violates the requirement that no additional PII except for the email be required to process the opt-out.

From the FTC:

Honor opt-out requests promptly. Any opt-out mechanism you offer must be able to process opt-out requests for at least 30 days after you send your message. You must honor a recipient’s opt-out request within 10 business days. You can’t charge a fee, require the recipient to give you any personally identifying information beyond an email address, or make the recipient take any step other than sending a reply email or visiting a single page on an Internet website as a condition for honoring an opt-out request.


What I don't understand is that many big companies have been forcing you to login to unsubscribe for years, without penalty. Ex: American Airlines. Also FBO.GOV forces you to login, which is mildly amusing because it's the government itself.

Fox News and related entities are serious transgressors here. I've clicked unsubscribe links only to be taken to signup pages full of ads, which had nothing to do with the mailing list.

Can't you sue then in the small claims court for that?

If I can, then a class action could probably be substantiated. They deserve it - this mailing list shenanigan was among the most egregious I've ever seen.

Welcome to unenforced law.

I know this is true for mass marketing emails, but is it the same for transactional emails also?

Transactional emails are generally exempt.

Explained at http://business.ftc.gov/documents/bus61-can-spam-act-complia... and excerpt below:

A. What matters is the “primary purpose” of the message. To determine the primary purpose, remember that an email can contain three different types of information:

1. Commercial content – which advertises or promotes a commercial product or service, including content on a website operated for a commercial purpose;

2. Transactional or relationship content – which facilitates an already agreed-upon transaction or updates a customer about an ongoing transaction; and

3. Other content – which is neither commercial nor transactional or relationship.

If the message contains only commercial content, its primary purpose is commercial and it must comply with the requirements of CAM-SPAM. If it contains only transactional or relationship content, its primary purpose is transactional or relationship. In that case, it may not contain false or misleading routing information, but is otherwise exempt from most provisions of the CAN-SPAM Act.

You're right—read the thread too fast. What's more interesting to me, is how many of these so called "transactional" emails actually pass the test?

More on that here: http://www.the-dma.org/press/PrimaryPurposeFactSheet.pdf

I read the thread too fast. Transactional emails are excluded under CAN-SPAM. But there are many times that "transactional emails" going out contain marketing/commercial content. There's a test for those emails to see if they pass: http://www.the-dma.org/press/PrimaryPurposeFactSheet.pdf

Many "transactional" emails probably fail the above test. It's shitty UX to make you login to opt-out, even if it's not against the law.

> I know this is true for mass marketing emails, but is it the same for transactional emails also?

That depends -- have you ever signed up with the sender? If so, you are asking to be spammed. When a company requires a signup, they are breaking the law, therefore you must not sign up. By signing up, you make the spam legitimate.

If they send you an unsolicited e-mail, they are criminals. If they require a signup to opt out, they are criminals. But if you sign up, they aren't. That's why they want you to sign up.

That law is plainly unconstitutional. Besides which, anyone who trusts the privacy or authenticity of email is a fucking retard.

What constitutional right is being violated here?

No right is being violated. It is a breach of duty: "Congress shall make no law ... abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press".

Even ignoring the first amendment, there is no enabling clause that grants the general power to regulate communication.

Are you saying that the CAN-SPAM act is abridging someone's freedom of speech? Whose?

You may have the right to speak but you don't have a right to force the populous to listen.

Communication is two way, spam is one-way.

The person sending the spam.

You have the right to expose people to communications with no Congressional control whatever. Congress shall make no law. You may shout on a street corner, you may set up a PA system until your neighbors are driven to madness, you may place pornography on a billboard, etc. Congress can do nothing to stop it.

>"You may shout on a street corner, you may set up a PA system until your neighbors are driven to madness, you may place pornography on a billboard, etc. Congress can do nothing to stop it." //

Are you trolling. You consider the constitutional right to free speech to encompass things like setting up a PA in public that is so loud it physically harms people?

It's not a right to amplified speech, nor "free shouting".

Your freedom of speech does not entitle you to free usage of any privately owned electronic communications system. Your freedom of speech protects the content of your message, but does not guarantee you free postage.

Stop with the analogies. We are talking about elements of law, not elements of what-ought-to-be that might be studied by analogy. Congress is without power to regulate communication, end of dispute. Congress cannot stop spammers any more than they can stop me from casting messages into bricks and mailing them to someone who is paying a package forwarding service.

There is no abridgment of the freedom of speech, or the press.

Freedom of speech does NOT involve the freedom to send individually addressed messages to anyone. There is no freedom to spam.

Regulating commercial speech is constitutional under the Commerce Clause.

CAN-SPAM doesn't apply to political or non-profit organizations.

Within its scope, the first amendment completely overrides the commerce clause. There is not the tiniest exception—that is the point of amending.

What speech or press is being abridged?

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