[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Saturday, 25 October, 2003, 05:21 GMT 06:21 UK
California wins anti-spam case

By Maggie Shiels
BBC correspondent in San Francisco

Junk e-mails
Spam is said to make up half of all e-mails sent
California has won a landmark judgement with its first anti-spam ruling after a court fined a marketing firm $2m for sending out millions of unsolicited e-mails telling people how to spam.

The state's attorney general, Bill Lockyer, brought the case against PW Marketing of Los Angeles County and its owners, Paul Willis and Claudia Griffin in 2002, under a 1998 state anti-spam law.

The law was strengthened last month to make it easier to sue spammers.

PW Marketing, Willis and Griffin were charged with sending out millions of e-mails, including advertising $39 guides on how to spam, along with long lists of e-mail addresses of California residents.

Computer tapping

Prosecutors said PW Marketing violated the 1998 anti-spam law because these unsolicited e-mails were sent without a free call number for recipients to phone to stop additional mailings.

They also failed to follow state requirements to include a valid return address.

The state attorney, Bill Lockyer, also said the owners illegally tapped into computer users' network connections so the company could send e-mails that could not be traced back to its source.

The judgement, which Mr Lockyer said will be the model for future spam injunctions, forbids PW Marketing from sending unsolicited commercial e-mails, accessing computers that belong to other people without their permission and disguising its identity by sending messages that appear to originate from a different address.

The injunction also forbids Willis and Griffin from owning or managing any business that advertises over the internet for 10 years.

After 1 January, the state's anti-spam laws will get tougher and will also allow private individuals to sue spammers and collect damages of up to $1,000 per e-mail.




SEE ALSO:
UK bans spam messages
18 Sep 03  |  Technology
EU businesses count spam costs
15 Jul 03  |  Business
Spam peddlers hijack computers
01 Jul 03  |  Technology
Spammers and virus writers unite
30 Apr 03  |  Technology
How to spot and stop spam
26 May 03  |  Technology
Italian spammers face jail
04 Sep 03  |  Europe


RELATED INTERNET LINKS:
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific