FTC to Host Spam Forum

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) will host a three-day “Spam Forum” April 30-May 2 to address the proliferation of unsolicited commercial email and to explore the technical, legal, and financial issues associated with it.

A Federal Register notice to be issued shortly says, “To explore the impact that spam has on consumers’ use of email, email marketing and the Internet industry, the Commission will convene a public forum. E-mail marketers, anti-spammers, Internet Service Providers (ISP), ISP abuse department personnel, spam filter operators, other email technology professionals, consumers, consumer groups, and law enforcement officials are especially encouraged to participate.”

The workshop will include panels to address different issues associated with spam, including the daily experience of consumers, filter programmers, and ISP abuse department personnel in dealing with spam; email address harvesting technology; deceptive routing and subject information in spam; and the costs and benefits of spam, including the costs ISPs spend on filtering, bandwidth, and customer service that are passed on to consumers.

Other panels will consider security weaknesses such as open relays, open proxies, and FormMail scripts in email transfer technology; Blacklists; viruses, Web beacons, and spyware that may be attached to email; wireless devices, text-based messaging, and wireless email; current and proposed spam legislation; enforcement of current and proposed international spam legislation; and recent private and governmental spam law enforcement actions.

The forum will be held at the FTC offices in Washington. Parties who wish to participate as panelists in the forum should notify the FTC by March 25 by writing to the Secretary of the FTC, Room 159, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580, or by email to spamforum@ftc.gov.

Requests to participate should be captioned, “Spam Forum – Request to Participate, P024407.” Parties are asked to include in their requests the name and number of the panel on which they would like to participate, a statement setting forth their expertise in or knowledge of the issues on which the panel will focus, and their contact information.

The forum will be open to the public and pre-registration is not required.

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