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Protecting Your EagleMail Account from Spam

This is an edited version of a "Campus Computing" article in the January, 2002 issue of Benchmarks Online. - Ed.

By Dr. Philip Baczewski, Associate Director of Academic Computing and
Cliff Cozzolino, Student E-mail System Analyst

spam is the word most people use to describe those unsolicited mass E-mail messages that show up in your mailbox. It is almost impossible these days to prevent all spam from being received, however, there are some steps you can take to guard your address from getting on spam mailing lists.

Most students don't realize that by law, the University is required to release your "directory information" to any external organization or individual who requests it. That information includes your E-mail address. Students can request that their directory information be withheld by completing a form (http://www.unt.edu/ferpa/PDF_files/withhold.pdf) and returning it to the registrar's office. According to the Registrar's office FERPA information page (http://essc.unt.edu/registrar/general/studentferpa.htm):

Directory information regarding the student will be provided to the public upon request unless student files a request in the Registrarís Office asking to be excluded from the directory or from any other requests for open directory information from outside entities. The request should be submitted prior to the 12th class day in the fall and spring terms, the 2nd class day of the May mini-mester, or the 4th class day in the summer terms. A request to withhold information may be submitted after the stated deadline for a term, but information may be released between the deadline and receipt of the request. The file of a student who has asked to be excluded from the directory information will remain flagged until the student requests that the flag be removed.
 
Directory information consists of a studentís full name, address, E-mail address, telephone number, date and place of birth, major field of study, classification, participation in officially recognized activities and sports, weight and height of athletic team members, dates of attendance, degrees, awards received, the last educational agency or institution attended previous to UNT, and photograph.

Students who are concerned about spam should request that their directory information be withheld. Other guidelines to follow are:

  • don't subscribe to open mailing lists or post your address in chat groups;
  • don't use your address to post to network news groups;
  • don't include your address on a public Web page.

People who collect E-mail addresses to send spam look in all of the above places to find addresses. It's impossible to totally prevent spam, however, by following the guidelines above, your exposure to spam can be minimized.