Internet Heavyweights Weigh In Against Spam

America Online Inc., EarthLink Inc., Microsoft Corp. and Yahoo! Inc. today jointly announced that their collaborative anti-spam industry efforts have resulted in the coordinated filing of thefirst major industry lawsuits under the new federal anti-spam law, the Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing (CAN-SPAM) Act of 2003, which went into effect Jan. 1.

The country’s four leading e-mail and Internet service providers announced the combined filing of six lawsuits against hundreds of defendants, including some of the nation’s most notorious large-scale spammers. The lawsuits were announced by senior executives of the companies at a joint press conference at the St. Regis Hotel in Washington.

New Federal Anti-Spam Law

The CAN-SPAM law provides strong new enforcement tools for e-mail and Internet service providers and law enforcement, and criminalizes specific tactics spammers use to spread junk e-mail. The law, which was supported by the four companies, allows for harsh new penalties against large-scale spammers that use fraud, deceit and evasion to try to send junk e-mail to consumers.

Each of the four companies last night filed legal complaints in federal courts in California, Georgia, Virginia and Washington state. The complaints charge the defendants with sending a combined total of hundreds of millions of bulk spam e-mail messages to customers of the four networks. Some of the common allegations described in the complaints include these:

* Deceptive solicitations for a variety of products including get-rich-quick schemes, prescription drugs, pornography, instructions for conducting spam campaigns, banned CDs, mortgage loans, university diplomas, cable descramblers and other common types of unsolicited e mail
* Use of open proxies (sending spam through third-party computers to disguise their point of origin)
* Falsified “from” e-mail addresses (spoofing)
* Absence of a physical address in the e-mail
* Absence of an electronic unsubscribe option

Each allegation is a direct violation of the CAN-SPAM law. A summary of each filing is included below. More detailed information about each case can be found on each complainant’s Web site.

Comments

“Today is a red-letter day for big-time spammers, and the letters they should remember from this day forward are ‘CAN- SPAM,'” said AOL Executive Vice President and General Counsel Randall Boe. “Congress gave us the necessary tools to pursue spammers with stiff penalties, and we in the industry didn’t waste a moment – moving with speed and resolve to take advantage of the new law. Consumers should take note that the new law not only empowered us to help can the spam, but also to can the spammers as well – and we’ll do that, one spam kingpin at a time if necessary. Our actions today clearly demonstrate that CAN-SPAM is alive and kicking – and we’re using it to give hardcore, outlaw spammers the boot.”

“Today’s bold action represents a decisive step by the leaders in our industry to preserve the integrity of the Internet and restore the value of e-mail that spammers have threatened to undermine,” said EarthLink Vice President, Chief Privacy Officer and Assistant General Counsel Les Seagraves. “Together, we are using a tough new federal law, combined with existing state laws, to let criminal spammers know that the nation’s leading Internet providers are united by a common goal – stopping the flow of illegal and intrusive junk e-mail and strengthening the Internet experience for all users. Collectively, we are committed to sending spammers the message that we will find them and use the full force of the law to stop them.”

“Substantial building blocks have been put into place in the effort to contain spam,” said Microsoft Deputy General Counsel Nancy Anderson. “With the creation of this anti-spam industry alliance and the implementation of a federal law to litigate effectively against spammers, we are witnessing the impact that this industrywide attack on spam is having. We’ve had the opportunity to share investigative best practices and various legal resources and information to ensure that spammers are going to have an increasingly difficult time continuing their deceptive practices with the full force of this industry coming down on them.”

“We’re holding spammers directly accountable for the relentless infiltration of people’s inboxes. We’re acting on behalf of the millions of people who are saying ‘enough is enough,'” said Yahoo! Senior Vice President and General Counsel Mike Callahan. “With federal legal remedies and industry collaboration, we have a significant new advantage. We are leveraging new legal tools and sharing best practices, sending a signal to spammers that they are facing a more unified front than ever before. This is great news for all consumers.”

The Industry Anti-Spam Alliance

The four companies formed an anti-spam alliance in April 2003. Coalition members meet regularly to proactively address the spam problem that threatens the effectiveness of e-mail as an essential means of communication. Through ongoing industry collaboration with a number of telecommunications companies and industry partners, the group expects to make consistent progress in the areas of technical standards development, as well as improved enforcement techniques and litigation

Beyond today’s major enforcement efforts, the anti-spam industry alliance is making progress on issues related to new and promising technical Internet standards, specifically regarding the certification and authentication of e-mail.

Spam continues to drain time, resources and network space from online companies and inhibit the online experience of consumers across the medium. Spam remains the chief concern of the four companies and their customers.

Today’s announcement is the result of substantial corporate cooperation. By sharing information, resources and investigative best practices within this industry alliance, these companies have been able to identify high-volume outlaw spammers for civil lawsuits – a first and critical stage in the campaign to end unwanted junk e-mail through stepped-up and coordinated civil enforcement programs.

The companies believe that the issue of spam can only be significantly addressed and resolved through a comprehensive, multilayered approach that includes anti-spam technologies, consumer education and awareness, legal enforcement, self-policing of e-mail account abuse, and stronger partnerships between industry and government and other regulatory agencies.

Deals

Looking for a Chromebook? The Google PixelBook just got a $200 price cut

Once relatively obscure, Chromebooks have come into their own in a big way in recent years. One of our favorites is the super-sleek Google Pixelbook, and it's on sale right now from Amazon for $200 off, letting you score this premium laptop…
Computing

Make the most of your toner with our five favorite color laser printers

Color laser printers have improved dramatically over the years, and today's models offer both blazing print speeds and great image quality. Here are our favorite color laser printers, from massive all-in-ones to smaller budget options.
Mobile

Got gadgets galore? Keep them charged up with the 10 best USB-C cables

We're glad to see that USB-C is quickly becoming the norm. That's why we've rounded up some of the better USB-C cables on the market, whether you're looking to charge or sync your smartphone. We've got USB-C to USB-C and USB-C to USB-A.
Computing

Nvidia’s GTX 1650 graphics card could be just a slight upgrade over the 1050 Ti

Rumors suggest Nvidia might soon launch the GTX 1650, and a leaked benchmark listing from Final Fantasy XV suggests that the new graphics card could be just a slight upgrade over last generation's GTX 1050 Ti. 
Computing

Get ready to say goodbye to some IFTTT support in Gmail by March 31

If This Then That, the popular automation service, will drop some of its support for Gmail by March 31. The decision comes as a response to security concerns and is aimed to protect user data.
Computing

Get the new Dell XPS 13 for $750 with this limited-time deal

Dell is currently running a limited time deal lasting through Thursday, March 28, where you can bring home a version of this year's new XPS 13 for around $750 with the use of a special coupon code. 
Computing

Nvidia faces attacks from AMD, Intel, and even Google. Should it be worried?

Nvidia announced an expanded array of RTX server solutions designed to leverage the power of ray-tracing at GTC 2019. The effort will help Nvidia take on Google's Stadia in game streaming with GeForce Now, and the company's investments in…
Mobile

This is the easiest way to save your iPhone data to your computer

Living in fear of losing your contacts, photos, messages, and notes on your iPhone? Fear no more -- in this guide, we'll break down exactly how to back up your iPhone to your computer using Apple's iTunes or to the cloud with iCloud.
Mobile

Here are the best iPad Pro keyboard cases to pick up with your new tablet

The iPad Pro range can double as laptops, but they do need proper keyboards to fill in effectively. Thankfully, there are loads to choose from and we rounded up the best iPad Pro keyboard cases right here.
Computing

Microsoft’s Clippy came back from the dead, but didn’t last very long

Before Cortana, Alexa, and Siri even existed, Microsoft Clippy dominated the screens of computers in the 1990s to help assist Microsoft Office users when writing letters. He recently made a bit of a comeback only to die off again.
Computing

How 5G networks will make low-latency game streaming a reality

Faster speeds and more bandwidth are some of the many promises that 5G can deliver, but for gamers, the most important thing is low latency. To achieve low latency, carriers like AT&T and Verizon are exploring hybrid models for game…
Deals

Time to do taxes? Save up to 50 percent on H&R Block tax software this weekend

Tax season is stressful, and with new tax laws in effect this year, it's not a bad idea to get some help. H&R Block has you covered: For two days only, you can save 50 percent on its great software so you can file your taxes online and save…
Computing

Stop dragging windows on your Mac. Here's how to use Split View to multitask

The latest iterations of MacOS offer a native Split View feature that can automatically divide screen space between two applications. Here's how to use Split View on a Mac, adjust it as needed, and how it can help out.
Computing

Breeze through security with these checkpoint-friendly laptop bags

Getting through airport security is a drag, but your laptop bag shouldn’t be. Thankfully, these checkpoint-friendly laptop bags will get you and your gear to your destination with ease.