WASHINGTON — Hotmail, the free e-mail service from Microsoft, is divulging subscribers’ e-mail addresses, cities and states to a public Internet directory site that combines the information with telephone numbers and home addresses.
Hotmail customers are automatically added to Infospace’s Internet White Pages directory unless they remove the check from a box in their registration form and “opt out,” company officials said. Critics say users may be putting themselves at risk of receiving junk e-mail, known as spam, because they overlook the check box. Once their information makes the directory, it is easily obtained by advertisers. “Once your e-mail addresses get into the spammers’ databases, you can’t get it out again,” said Internet activist Bennett Haselton, who made the discovery.
(Copyright 2001 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)
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