FTC slates anti-spam list

22 Aug 2003

Adding fuel to an already raging fire over the issue of unsolicited email, the chairman of the US Federal Trade Commission said that efforts to establish a ‘do not spam’ list of internet users who do not want to receive such emails won’t fix the problem.

Speaking at the high profile Aspen Summit for telecoms and technology, FTC chairman Timothy Muris said: “If such a list were established I’d advise customers not to waste their time and effort. Most spam is already so clearly illegitimate that the senders are no more likely to comply with new regulations than with the laws they now ignore.”

The effort to establish an anti-spam list by the US Congress follows the success of the FTC’s ‘do-not-call’ registry for United States residents who want to block telemarketing calls. Since the list opened in June, more than 32 million phone numbers have been registered and the FTC will begin enforcing the list from October.

In 2001, only 7pc of email was spam. Today, according to spam blocking software maker Brightmail, spam now accounts for more than half of all email sent.

In 2001, complaining consumers forwarded 10,000 junk emails each day to the FTC. The agency now receives 130,000 such messages a day.

“In the end, spam will be reduced through several technological improvements, as well as safer computing practices by consumers,” Muris said.

By John Kennedy