The White House said Monday it will tighten its email sign-up rules after drawing fire from some recipients of a message about health care policies who complained they had not asked for such updates.
But the administration denied signing people up without their permission and seemed to blame third-party activist groups for the problem.
"We are implementing measures to make subscribing to emails 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 spokesman Nick Shapiro.
Fox News Channel, which first reported Shapiro's comments on Sunday, had asked the White House to explain how some people who said they had never signed up for administration emails came to receive messages.
"The White House email list is made up of email addresses obtained solely through the White House website," said Shapiro.
"The White House doesn't purchase, upload or merge from any other list. Again, all emails come from the White House website as we have no interest in emailing anyone who does not want to receive an email," he said.
"If an individual received the email 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 email or tell whomever forwarded it to them not to forward such information anymore," said Shapiro.
The complaints centered on a 1,500-word message last week from White House senior adviser David Axelrod concerning President Barack's Obama's drive to remake US health care.
The politics news web site Politico.com said it was possible that a third-party group could send a comment to the White House web site in the name of each person who signed an online petition, leading the White House to add their email address to its emailing lists.
(c) 2009 AFP
Explore further: Review: Online stylists for the shopping-averse