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Indiana Lawmakers Discuss Possible E-mail Registry

Indiana lawmakers are considering creating an e-mail registry aimed at protecting children from marketers of adult products like alcohol, tobacco and pornography.The registry would work like a telemarketing no-call list, and would be maintained by a state agency such as the secretary of state’s office.It would be funded with monthly fees paid by marketers to compare their e-mail lists with addresses on the registry.Such registries are in place in Utah and Michigan, with software support by Unspam Technologies. The company’s Eric Langheinrich told Indiana lawmakers that the registry offers protections not necessarily available with spam filters."What a spam filter does, it looks at the messages being sent to you and makes a decision of ‘does this fall within that category, should I be filtering it, should I not be filtering it?’ And quite honestly none of the spam filters are perfect," he said.Representatives of e-mail marketers contend that having a children’s e-mail registry could make them vulnerable to misuse by an employee or a hacker.The study group also agreed to begin gathering information for a possible bill that would make failure to report a child’s disappearance a felony offense.

Rick Howlett is host of WFPL's weekly talk show, "In Conversation." Email Rick at rhowlett@lpm.org.