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Tag: Suit

California Wins Legal Case Against Spammers

Posted by geeknews at 5:01 AM on October 26, 2003

Two LA spammers were ordered to pay $2 million and received various business restrictions in Santa Clara County Superior Court, this past Friday. This is the largest judgment won by government prosecutors against senders of unsolicited e-mail. The spammers are also the object of a Federal Trade Commission suit; however, both legal cases are civil suits, so there’s not much chance that the spammers will see the inside of a jail cell anytime soon.

Since 1999, almost three-quarters of states have passed anti-spam laws, but prosecutors have brought only a handful of lawsuits; success in the legal system often requires integrating case law (past judgments), and until more criminal suits are won this catch-22 will continue. Rather than pursue criminal penalties, ISPs and frustrated individuals have been using the courts by filing suit using various laws such as consumer fraud and trespass.

Dave’s Opinion
The U.S. Senate unanimously approved an anti-spam bill this past Wednesday: the first federal legislation to tackle spam. The Sentate bill requires bulk e-mailers to indicate a valid return address, disclose that the content is advertising, and give consumers valid and working opt-out mechanisms. In addition, the bill bans the use of addresses obtained from automated mechanisms, such as web-crawling and e-mail harvesting.

Senate bill S.877, CAN-SPAM Act of 2003, also directs the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) to come up with a plan for a do-not-spam registry, similar to the do-not-call telemarketing registry.

The U.S. House of Representatives is considering competing anti-spam legislation, and may have a more difficult time reaching agreement; however, I’m holding out hope for a valid and reliable do-not-spam registry by 2005.

Call for Comments
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References
S.877 CAN-SPAM Act of 2003

Microsoft Sued Over Security Flaws

Posted by geeknews at 7:15 AM on October 8, 2003

Marcy Levitas Hamilton, a media corporation CEO, has filed suit and is seeking to class action status for her complaint against Microsoft. Hamilton says that the software giant is responsible for a cracker’s being able to steal her Social Security number’s using a flaw in Microsoft’s software.

This is a new type of complaint: holding Microsoft legally responsible for the security of its applications and operating systems because the software maker’s disclaimers against responsibility for security flaws are an unfair business practice under the laws of California since consumers have few options other than using Microsoft products.

Dave’s Opinion
This is an interesting legal argument: should software makers be held to a standard of liability similar to the standards of other major industries.

Microsoft says that Hamilton’s law suit is misdirected because the theft is the work of vandals. But I think Microsoft is missing the point — it manages the only building in town and left the door open. Shouldn’t Microsoft, as the only landlord in town, be responsible to lock the door against the vandals?

Call for Comments
What do you think? Leave your comments below.