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News > Technology
FTC: No 'Do-Not-Spam' list
Agency says current plans for anti-spam registry are flawed, may actually boost junk e-mail.
June 15, 2004: 3:51 PM EDT

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - The Federal Trade Commission said Tuesday it won't endorse a national 'do-not-e-mail' registry, saying current plans are so flawed they might actually boost the amount of junk e-mail.

The FTC said in a report it was convinced that the registry, as proposed, would be difficult to enforce because current technology cannot prevent spammers from obtaining copies of a registry and mining it for new addresses.

The FTC would be "largely powerless to identify those responsible for misusing the registry."

An effective anti-spam effort must focus on finding ways to authenticate the origins of e-mail, which would help prevent spammers from skirting the law and Internet service providers' spam filters.

Instead, the agency plans to hold a meeting this fall to encourage the development of effective authentication systems, it said in a statement.

"With authentication, better CAN-SPAM Act enforcement and better filtering by ISPs may even make a registry unnecessary," the report said.

Several proposals for new authentication technology have come from technology companies including Microsoft. The FTC is considering these plans, and has proposed the broad adoption of new technology that makes it more difficult for spammers 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.

The FTC was obligated to draw a plan for a "do not e-mail" list under the "can spam" legislation President Bush signed in December 2003.

Spam now makes up more than half of all e-mail, according to several surveys, and lawmakers have said spam is fast becoming a top concern among voters nationwide.

According to Brightmail, an e-mail tracking firm, about 64 percent of the world's e-mail in May 2004 was spam. Last December that percentage stood at 58 percent.  Top of page

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