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Microsoft Files 15 Lawsuits Against Spammers in US and UK
Microsoft Files 15 Lawsuits Against Spammers in US and UK

(June 19, 2003) - As part of Microsoft Corp.'s commitment to working with government and industry to address the spam problem, the company, along with government representatives in Redmond and London, this week filed 15 cases in the United States and the United Kingdom to help protect consumers against alleged spammers. The lawsuits allege that the defendants collectively are responsible for flooding Microsoft's customers and its systems with more than 2 billion deceptive unsolicited e-mail messages, commonly referred to as "spam."

At a press conference Microsoft senior VP and general counsel Brad Smith reconfirmed Microsoft's commitment to strengthening public and private cooperation to protect consumers from spam. The company filed the legal actions under Washington state's strong antispam law, which provides Internet service providers (ISPs) with the tools to take action against spammers to protect consumers. The cases address some of the most misleading, deceptive, and offensive spam e-mail received by Microsoft customers.

Two additional civil lawsuits were filed in the United Kingdom, alleging the unlawful harvesting of e-mail account names and other illegal spamming practices under the U.K. Misuse of Computers Act of 1990.

Enforcement is a key pillar of Microsoft's antispam initiative. These lawsuits are targeted at stopping some of the most offensive e-mail practices affecting Microsoft customers. In some cases, defendants are alleged to have used deceptive and misleading subject lines to disguise e-mail messages that actually contained pornographic images, dating service solicitations and other adult services. One case involves e-mail messages that include a false virus warning. Recipients are instructed to download an "update" purported to protect their system, when in fact the download is nothing more than a toolbar that appears to track their movements on the Internet.

In other cases, defendants are alleged to have "spoofed" the sender's e-mail address, making it seem that the spam originated from hotmail.com or other recognized senders; this may mislead recipients or circumvent antispam filters. Among the defendants in the lawsuits are several individuals and entities that are listed as known spammers on Internet registries which track spam activities worldwide.

Microsoft continues to confer with legislators as they draft new laws that will enable additional legal action to be taken against people who abuse e-mail at low cost to themselves but at high cost to consumers, enterprises and ISPs.

The company is engaged with others in the industry to fight the spam problem. For example, Microsoft, Yahoo! Inc. Earthlink and America Online Inc. are working together to solve some of the technical issues associated with spam.

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Reader Feedback: Page 1 of 1

There are some excellent anti-spam utilities out there. I can highly recommend "MailWasher" as a good tool.

Yes, hit the spammers where it hurts - their wallets. I think antispam filters could be much better though. There's very little artificial intelligence at work. For example emails with a subject line of "dliplpivtsx ymc fdj rcgclulop" should not get through a good filter. The tools>Rules Wizard of Outlook is not of much use, a few lines of Perl to scan the subject line could do better, I must give it a try..sometime.

Microsoft's again taking the front... I hope their lawyers kick some butt.




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