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FTC Declines to create Do Not Spam Registry

On Tuesday, June 15, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced to Congress that they would not establish a Do Not Spam registry.

According to the FTC, such a list could actually make the spam problem worse, due to issues of potential abuse and unenforceability. A spammer could simply use the registry as a database of e-mail addresses, and the ease of disguising one's e-mail identity would make it difficult for the FTC to detect such abusers.

"We find that a national do-not-e-mail registry would be ineffective and burdensome for consumers," FTC Chairman Timothy J. Muris told reporters in Washington. "Consumers will be spammed if we do a registry and spammed if we do not."

Instead, Muris signaled FTC support for the widespread adoption of new authentication technology that will make it more difficult to disguise the origin of e-mails. Several proposals from leading technology and software companies, such as Microsoft, are being considered and could be formally proposed to the FTC when they are complete.

CMOR commented on the feasibility of a Do Not Spam registry when the FTC invited such input in March, chiefly to ensure that the market and opinion research profession was excluded from any regulatory definition of "spam." Survey research had not been implicated in the CAN SPAM Act that formed the basis for the FTC's regulatory decision. There is no expansion in the definition of spam as a result of the FTC's announcement, so survey research is still excluded from all spam-related legislation.

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