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A Guardian article attacking the latest spammer tactics gives out mixed messages about the junk mail menace.

Although the article condemns the emerging practice among lowlife spammers of commandeering home PCs using Trojans to send out porno email, links at the bottom of the article helpfully point to a firm that sells email address lists.

Oh the irony.

MarketingFile, a Guardian affiliate, is an entirely reputable company. But MarketingFile director Chris Luveys is unable to give firm guarantees that all the consumer email lists (26 lists - 6.3 million records for the UK, 10 lists - 51.8 million records for the US) it resells contain verified opt-in addresses only.

Luveys said MarketingFile, whose main business is direct advertising using post or fax, only resells the email lists of "half a dozen suppliers" all of which operate an opt-in policy. Although Luveys tells us MarketingFile is very careful about suppliers, he admits that since it is only a reseller it "can't be there to ensure" all the addresses are pukka.

With more than 57 million emails addresses in question here, you really have to wonder.

Quizzed about the impact of new direct marketing legislation, Luveys expressed the hope the legislation will bring more companies in line with best practice and make it more difficult - at least theoretically - for rogue firms to operate. ®

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