Micro$oft takes spam fight to court

Discussion in 'ten-forward' started by Smokey, Jun 21, 2003.

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  1. Smokey

    Smokey Registered Member

    Apr 1, 2002
    Annie's Pub
    Software giant Microsoft went to court in the United States and the United Kingdom on Tuesday, filing 15 lawsuits attacking the unsolicited e-mail known as spam.

    "We recognize that spam is a global problem," Microsoft general counsel Brad Smith told Reuters. "We are ramping up our efforts to combat spam around the world."

    As marketers have increased their barrage of unwanted e-mails, the war on spam is heating up. Several antispam measures are making their way through Congress, and other firms are also taking spammers to court. The number of people installing e-mail filters is also on the rise.

    Damages and court orders

    Smith told Reuters that Microsoft would try to protect consumers from spam using tools that would allow them to block and filter e-mail. Recently, for example, the company tried to limit spammers' use of its Hotmail service by capping the number of outgoing e-mails that can be sent per day at 100.

    Microsoft also announced plans to work with other Internet businesses to fight spam. The company's lawsuits will seek monetary damages and court orders demanding that spammers stop sending messages.

    Recently, Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates sent a letter to Congress calling for a federal antispam law. He also urged the tech industry to enact measures to fight spam.

    Washington state Attorney General Christine Gregoire said consumers flood her office with complaints about spam.

    "We need an aggressive, sustained and comprehensive assault by industry, government and consumers to stop spam," Gregoire said. "Today's lawsuits are exactly the kinds of action we need to put illegal spammers out of business."

    Spam -- named after the processed meat eulogized in a Monty Python sketch -- was first sent on a computer system in 1978.

    These days it floods computer networks, with spammers devising new ways to bypass software designed to block or filter e-mail.

    Hard to police

    The Internet remains hard to police, and so far, legislation has failed to stop spam.

    Spammers, mostly based in the United States, buy databases of e-mail addresses that allow them to send millions of e-mails quickly and cheaply.

    Hotmail, which has 110 million users, estimates that 80 percent of 2 billion messages sent via its services each day are junk. Yahoo! says it intercepts 1 billion such messages a day.

    The European Union plans to make spam illegal, while in Virginia, spammers are being threatened with jail.

    Source: CNN, Seattle
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