After Spam Flap, White House Changes E-Mail Policy

(CBS/White House)
It appears the Obama administration has been spamming some unsuspecting citizens about health care reform, but the White House is reportedly laying the blame for the unwanted e-mails on advocacy groups.

Fox News queried the White House about its e-mail delivery system after the network reportedly received hundreds of e-mails from people claiming they were sent unsolicited e-mails directly from the White House.

The complaints largely referred to a long e-mail sent last week from White House adviser David Axelrod that promoted the president's health care reform agenda and sought to dispel "myths" about health care reform. Axelrod urged recipients of his e-mail to pass it on to others, but complaints to Fox News reportedly referred specifically to e-mails sent directly from the White House.

In a statement given Sunday night, the White House reportedly said it will change its e-mail sign-up procedures and indicated third party advocacy groups may have signed up individuals for the e-mail distribution list without their permission.

"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," White House spokesman Nick Shapiro said in a statement, Politico reports.

In other words, according to Politico, an advocacy group may have sent a unique comment to from each person who signed an online petition, along with each person's e-mail address, thereby inputing the address into the White House's e-mail list.

"The White House e-mail list is made up of e-mail addresses obtained solely through the White House Web site," Shapiro's statement said. "If an individual received the e-mail because someone else or a group signed them up or forwarded the email, we hope they were not too inconvenienced. Further, we suggest that they unsubscribe from the list by clicking the link at the bottom of the e-mail or tell whomever forwarded it to them not to forward such information anymore." Special Report: Health Care