FTC to Hold Three Day Public Spam Workshop

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For Release

The Federal Trade Commission will host a three-day "Spam Forum" Wednesday, April 30 through Friday, May 2, to address the proliferation of unsolicited commercial e-mail and to explore the technical, legal, and financial issues associated with it. The forum will be held at the Federal Trade Commission, 601 New Jersey Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. It will be open to the public and preregistration is not required.

A Federal Register notice to be issued shortly says, "To explore the impact that spam has on consumers' use of e-mail, e-mail 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 e-mail technology professionals, consumers, consumer groups, and law enforcement officials are especially encouraged to participate."

The workshop will include panels to address 14 different issues associated with spam, including:

  • The daily experience of consumers, filter programmers, and ISP abuse department personnel in dealing with spam;
  • E-mail address harvesting technology;
  • Deceptive routing and subject information in spam;
  • The costs and benefits of spam, including the costs ISPs spend on filtering, bandwidth, and customer service that are passed on to consumers;
  • Security weaknesses such as open relays, open proxies, and FormMail scripts in e-mail transfer technology; Blacklists;
  • Viruses, Web beacons, and spyware that may be attached to e-mail;
  • Wireless devices, text-based messaging, and wireless e-mail;
  • Current and proposed spam legislation;
  • Enforcement of current and proposed international spam legislation;
  • Recent private and governmental spam law enforcement actions;
  • Best practices for e-mail senders and receivers;
  • Evolving technologies to eliminate or negate spam; and
  • Structural changes to the way e-mail is sent, including proposals to reverse the cost model of e-mail.

Parties who wish to participate as panelists in the forum should notify the FTC by March 25, 2003 by writing to the Secretary of the FTC, Room 159, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580, or by e-mail 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.

Copies of the Federal Register notice are available from the FTC's Web site at http://www.ftc.gov and also from the FTC's Consumer Response Center, Room 130, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580. The FTC works for the consumer to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices in the marketplace and to provide information to help consumers spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint, or to get free information on any of 150 consumer topics, call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1 877-382-4357), or use the complaint form at http://www.ftc.gov The FTC enters Internet, telemarketing, identity theft, and other fraud-related complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to hundreds of civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad.


(FTC File No. P02 4407)

Contact Information

Media Contact:
Claudia Bourne Farrell,
Office of Public Affairs
Staff Contact:
Brian Huseman or Lisa Tobin,
Bureau of Consumer Protection
202-326-3320 or 202-326-3218