White House adjusts e-mail opt-in after allegedly sending unsolicited e-mails

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The healthcare reform battle has hit every level of society and now it has even encroached on the e-mail space. Concerns about unsolicited e-mails arose on Thursday last week, after White House senior advisers sent out an e-mail about healthcare with the subject line "Something worth forwarding." Some recipients and Fox News claimed that some of these e-mails were sent without the user opting in. In response to this, the White House said on Sunday it will change its e-mail sign-up procedures.

“We are implementing measures to make subscribing to e-mails clearer, including preventing advocacy organizations from signing people up to our lists without their permission when they deliver petition signatures and other messages on individual's behalf,” said Nick Shapiro, a spokesman for the White House, in a statement.

According to the statement, the administration has "no interest in e-mailing anyone who does not want to receive an e-mail." Shapiro suggested that recipients unsubscribe from any unwanted e-mails they receive.

E-mail industry executives are watching to see what the administration will do next.

“The biggest question mark in this controversy circles around what the White House is going to do with the information they collect from this exercise — which could potentially result in a list of e-mail addresses or IP addresses of Americans expressing their opinion or providing information,” said Beth Leleck, manager, e-mail marketing at ExactTarget, in a blog.
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