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A global service that gives Net users the chance to opt out of receiving spam has been launched in the US. By registering with OptList.com Net users can ask to be removed from all email lists. On the other hand, if they want to receive junk mail and tailor it to cover specific areas, such as rock music or astrology, they can also register their interests in more than 500 different subjects. Registration, though, is only half of the equation. It's then up to junk emailers to use OptList.com's databases to weed out those who don't want spam and to include those that do. In theory it should mean that people who don't want to receive spam are purged from spammers' lists. What distinguishes Optlist.com from other similar services such as SAFEeps.com from the American Computer Group is that it's free to use by spammers. In reality, whether it's free or not is of little relevance. It is difficult to imagine how such a scheme will stop the activities of unscrupulous spammers, a fact recognised by the president of OptList.com himself. "We're just a small part of the equation to tame spam," said Ken Lau. "It's up to the citizens of the Internet to do something about it... we're just providing the tools." ®

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