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The Federal Trade Commission has decided not to set up an anti-spam register. Congress originally mooted the idea of a National Do Not Email register but the FTC voted unanimously to reject the idea.

The regulators believe that such a register "would fail to reduce the amount of spam consumers receive, might increase it, and could not be enforced effectively."

The FTC says the real problem is the ease with which spammers can hide their real identities. Without a robust email authentication system control of spam is impossible. The FTC is sponsoring an "Authentication Summit" this autumn to address the issue.

Three types of register were considered. The first was a list of individual's email addresses, secondly a list of domains which did not wish to receive spam or thirdly a list of people who wanted all commercial email to be sent via a trusted third party which would only send it on to names not on the registry. After consulting more than 50 organisations the FTC decided none of these models could be effectively enforced.

The FTC said in a statement: "Instead of implementing a registry that would, at best have no impact on spam and, at worst, cause it to increase, the FTC’s plan recognizes the need for an authentication standard. The FTC’s Report explains that “without effective authentication of email, any registry is doomed to fail." ®

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