FTC Puts ‘Do-Not-Spam’ List on Hold

WASHINGTON

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is putting on hold a plan to create a “do-not-spam” registry to prevent unwanted E-mails and unsolicited marketing over the Internet. FTC officials say the enforcement of such a registry isn’t possible with current technology and may even be used by spammers to increase their unwanted E-mails.

President Bush signed the “can spam” legislation on Dec. 16 that called for the creation of a registry of those who did not want unsolicited marketing E-mails similar to the “do-not-call” list that blocked telemarketers.

The FTC says senders of unwanted E-mails would use the names on a do-not-spam list to find new victims to send more spam to. Unlike the do-not-call list, there doesn’t exist a way for the government to block somebody from E-mailing someone else. However, many E-mail programs allow individual users to block spam E-mails.

In a statement June 15 announcing its decision, the FTC says it is “largely powerless to identify those responsible for misusing the registry” and proposed broad adoption of new authentication technology that will make it more difficult to disguise the origin of unwanted E-mails.

If new authentication plans fail to emerge, the FTC says it will convene a federal advisory committee to determine whether the government could require Internet providers to adopt one.

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