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The FTC has been considering the feasibility of creating a national Do-Not-Spam Registry — a list of e-mail addresses from consumers who would express their preference not to receive unsolicited commercial e-mail. The FTC has said it intends to issue a report on this issue in June, but an anti-spam registry has not yet been established. Meanwhile, however, the FTC fears that a scam has been set up to trick people into providing their e-mail addresses — ostensibly for a Do-Not-Spam Registry — to a list that may be harvesting e-mail addresses precisely for the purpose of spamming. According to a recent report by the FTC, a Web site has been set up at unsub.us that mimics the look, language and navigation of the Web site for the national Do-Not-Call Registry. The unsub.us site is not run nor authorized by the FTC. The FTC has stated its concern that the unsub.us site “could be part of a high-tech scam that uses a deceptive Web site to trick consumers into disclosing their e-mail addresses or other sensitive personal information,” and that the site “may be a ruse to collect valid e-mail addresses to sell to spammers.” Thus, the FTC warns, “the result could be even more spam for consumers who sign up for this ‘registry’.” According to the FTC, the result could be even worse, as the information collected could be used for identity theft purposes. The FTC is warning consumers not to submit their e-mail addresses or any other personal information to any Web site touting to be a national Do-Not-Spam Registry. Bottom line, the FTC properly advises that consumers should keep their personal information to themselves, and not share personal information to anyone not known. The FTC also asks that anyone who has been solicited with respect to a so-called national Do Not Spam Registry should make a report to the FTC at http://www.ftc.gov or 1-877-FTC-HELP. While a Do-Not-Spam Registry has not been established yet, it does not strain the imagination to foresee the inevitability of such a registry, as spam creates a number of problems. Not only does it cause annoyance and irritation, it can be downright offensive in terms of written and visual content. It saps work productivity, as people must sift through and delete dozens and even hundreds of e-mails daily, it uses up server storage capacity, and it poses a security threat. And unwanted e-mail can be the source of worm attacks such as Sobig and MyDoom. Eric Sinrod is a partner in the San Francisco office of Duane Morris ( www.duanemorris.com), where he focuses on litigation matters of various types, including information technology disputes. His Web site is www.sinrodlaw.com, and he can be reached at [email protected] . To receive a weekly e-mail link to these columns, please send him an e-mail with “Subscribe” in the subject line.

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