FC: FTC turns to oft-unreliable blacklists to limit spam

From: Declan McCullagh (declanat_private)
Date: Tue Nov 26 2002 - 19:14:20 PST

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       Public access to FTC hurt by spam lists
       By Declan McCullagh 
       November 26, 2002, 5:22 PM PT
       When Josh Tinnin tried to send e-mail to the U.S. Federal Trade
       Commission this month, he received an unwelcome surprise: He couldn't.
       Tinnin's message to the FTC bounced back because the agency subscribes
       to a blacklisting service designed to limit the amount of spam making
       its way into the agency's in-boxes. SBC Pacific Bell, Tinnin's
       Internet service provider, appeared on the blacklist as a haven for
       senders of junk e-mail.
       "I didn't know that the government was using blacklists," said Tinnin,
       who lives in Fremont, Calif. "That was surprising."
       Businesses and individual Internet users have turned to blacklists to
       try to stanch the steadily increasing flow of bulk e-mail. But the FTC
       appears to be the first federal agency to adopt the often-buggy lists,
       and some legal experts say the practice raises novel issues and may
       violate Americans' First Amendment right to "petition the government."
       FTC spokeswoman Claudia Farrell said the commission began filtering
       its incoming mail in August "as an ongoing effort to protect agency
       computing resources and productivity of agency staff."
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