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Microsoft Gets Largest Civil Award Against European Spammer
But not under anti-spam legislation...
trillianjedi




msg:3081324
 11:36 am on Sep 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

Microsoft has won what it described as the largest reported civil award against a spammer in Europe. The software giant says it won a court order requiring spammer Paul Fox to pay £45,000.

Rather than pursue a case under Britain's limited anti-spam laws, Microsoft filed a complaint that Fox had breached the terms and conditions of its Hotmail service. It conditions state: "You may not use any [Microsoft] Services to send Spam. You also may not deliver Spam or cause Spam to be delivered to any of Microsoft's Services or customers."

[channelregister.co.uk...]

 

vik_c




msg:3081350
 12:13 pm on Sep 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

The software giant says it won a court order requiring spammer Paul Fox to pay £45,000.

Gosh! I guess their stockholders can expect a special dividend this year :)

Manga




msg:3081446
 1:47 pm on Sep 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

An anti-spam law was introduced in 2003 in the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations, but its powers are very limited.

"The regulations generally don't stop spam being sent to work email addresses," said Robertson. "And anyone wanting to sue a spammer has to be sure that the spam originates in the UK. They also have to show damage and claim compensation for that damage Ė rather than claiming for the cost of dealing with all spam received in their inbox."

Why do people think they are entitled to anything more than compensation for actual damages when it comes to spam? It is reasonable that you would have to prove that you suffered damages, what those damages were, and then only be entitled to compensation for those damages as well as legal fees. Why would you be entitled to anything more than that?

DamonHD




msg:3081459
 1:59 pm on Sep 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

Hi,

For the same reason that I should not have to prove damages to me personally for you to be punished for dropping litter in a beautyspot or in the street.

SPAMming is a highly anti-social activity with huge costs dispersed throughout the Net, largely NOT paid by the SPAMmers. For example I just had to replace ANOTHER mail server worn out by 10,000+ SPAMs aimed at me each day, never mind the time wasted in continual tuning/tweaking to keep the mail address usable at all and the consequential damages of important emails lost in the wash.

Rgds

Damon

jtoddv




msg:3081509
 2:39 pm on Sep 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

DamonHD you nailed it brother.

I hope they continue to crack down on this sort of thing. It is ridiculous.

BillyS




msg:3081636
 3:55 pm on Sep 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

Any amount is certainly a win and this case opens up the possibility of even higher civil awards in the future.

Ride45




msg:3081692
 4:26 pm on Sep 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

This a great step.... I can't believe I am giving kudos to Microsoft, but great to see this kind of thing happening.

I think because the guy was in the UK it made it easier. Most of the spam comes out of Lagos Nigeria, the spam capital of the world where it's going to be a little harder for Microsoft or anyone else to get these legal things to happen

DamonHD




msg:3081723
 4:42 pm on Sep 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

Hi,

I think that M$ has behaved as a white knight against SPAM in several ways. This is one of many good things that they have done for which they should be praised.

Rgds

Damon

Manga




msg:3081748
 4:59 pm on Sep 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

I just had to replace ANOTHER mail server worn out by 10,000+ SPAMs aimed at me each day, never mind the time wasted in continual tuning/tweaking to keep the mail address usable at all and the consequential damages of important emails lost in the wash.

And why would you not be able to show these damages in a court of law? For example, cost of server replacement, cost of time wasted, opportunity cost of lost emails, etc. All of these things can be itemized and presented as damages in a court of law. You have every right to be compensated for all of this, and for any legal fees you may incur.

Don't get me wrong, I hate spam as well. But I believe in a fair justice system too. Many people want to lock up spammers and throw away the key, but that is not reasonable. If you suffer damages for any reason, not just spam, you have a right to be compensated. And you need to prove that you have suffered damages to receive that compensation. What you do not have a right to is unreasonable compensation, like some of the ridiculous judgements we have seen in the US.

In this particular case I believe the British court acted fairly and the judgement was a reasonable one.

koan




msg:3081815
 6:07 pm on Sep 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

What you do not have a right to is unreasonable compensation, like some of the ridiculous judgements we have seen in the US.

Punitive damages is also an important part of a working justice system to discourage anti social activities such as spam. If someone litters your lawn EVERY DAY for years on end, even after you ask them to stop, you can't just add up to sum of what it cost to clean that up, it gave you a whole lot more trouble than that: waste of time, worries, emotional distress, etc. The whole deal just degrades your quality of life a little bit for giving you additional troubles. Not to forget it is FORBIDDEN.

I'm all for locking those sociopathic #*$! them up.

wildbest




msg:3081860
 6:44 pm on Sep 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

Well done MS!

goubarev




msg:3081869
 7:03 pm on Sep 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

... and the worst thing is that email SPAM does not work...
... the economics of it... it's not longer profitable considering all the expenses... Maybe few years ago people were clicking on those emails, but now they just get deleted...

wildbest




msg:3081874
 7:06 pm on Sep 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

... and the worst thing is that email SPAM does not work...

Why 'the worst'? It is the best! I'm glad spam doesn't work anymore.

DamonHD




msg:3081881
 7:09 pm on Sep 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

Hi Manga,

Let's be sensible.

How would I track down the hundreds of SPAMmers and apportion the costs and cover my time and legal costs? They don't exactly advertise their whereabouts for a start, which is just one signal that the behaviour is anti-social, that they KNOW it to be anti-social, and that the criminal law needs to get involved, because that is what criminal law is for: deterring anti-social behaviour (from vandalism right up to murder) which undermine society and are impossible for law-abiding individuals to stop by themselves.

Why should I have to prove at my expense that parking tanks on my lawn hurts me?

Rgds

Damon

Manga




msg:3081905
 7:19 pm on Sep 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

Punitive damages is also an important part of a working justice system to discourage anti social activities such as spam. If someone litters your lawn EVERY DAY for years on end, even after you ask them to stop, you can't just add up to sum of what it cost to clean that up, it gave you a whole lot more trouble than that: waste of time, worries, emotional distress, etc. The whole deal just degrades your quality of life a little bit for giving you additional troubles. Not to forget it is FORBIDDEN.

Well, outside the US punitive damages are not so common. The fact that I am not American probably influences my views on this. Most courts outside the US do not hand out the astronomical judgements that US courts are known for. These types judgements are the main reason why the US is such a litigious soiciety... but that's another story.

Regarding your lawn litter example, I still do not think you should be entitled to punitive damages. You can make an argument that you are entitled to some sort of compensation for waste of time, worries, emotional distress, etc., but that compensation would have to be proportionate and reasonable. For example, if you were awarded $25,000 for waste of time, worries, emotional distress, then that would be an extremely unreasonable judgement. If you were awarded $2,500 then maybe, just maybe, it might resemble something proportionate and fair, but it would probably still be a little high.

Manga




msg:3081915
 7:25 pm on Sep 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

Hi Manga,

Let's be sensible.

How would I track down the hundreds of SPAMmers and apportion the costs and cover my time and legal costs? They don't exactly advertise their whereabouts for a start, which is just one signal that the behaviour is anti-social, that they KNOW it to be anti-social, and that the criminal law needs to get involved, because that is what criminal law is for: deterring anti-social behaviour (from vandalism right up to murder) which undermine society and are impossible for law-abiding individuals to stop by themselves.

Hi Damon,

I am not suggesting that the law should not be involved, I am only suggesting that it should be proportionate. I believe this British case is proportionate. £45,000 is a fair judgement because there is no way that this one spammer caused more than £45,000 worth of damage. If that spammer was fined $10 million then that would be unreasonable, and I believe there have been those kind of judgements in the US.

born2drv




msg:3081927
 7:36 pm on Sep 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

Most of the spam comes out of Lagos Nigeria, the spam capital of the world where it's going to be a little harder for Microsoft or anyone else to get these legal things to happen

When was the last time anything good came out of Nigeria anyways? Anyone here selling any LEGIT widget orders to nigeria?

Why doesn't the net just cut these scum bags off the face of the earth completely. I would love to see some international anti-spam body threaten that very type of action for any nation that is "guilty of harboring spammers" or turns a blind eye to the practice much in the same way we go after any nation sponsoring terrorism... We should impose virtual sanctions in the same exact way including cutting off the entire nation from the ability to link up to the net.

beakertrail




msg:3081996
 8:16 pm on Sep 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

Good for Microsoft. Hopefully it will send a message.
When making a judgement the courts should also consider how much the person has earned through his spam scam.

£45,000 might not be much to someone who makes hundreds of thousands.

DamonHD




msg:3082016
 8:28 pm on Sep 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

Hi born2drv,

Actually, most SPAM originates from the US one way or another, albeit via compromised machines elsewhere in the world much of the time.

Just cutting Florida off from all electronic communications and money transfers would stop most SPAM dead.

Nigeria has many problems, but SPAM by sheer volume is just not one of them.

Rgds

Damon

beakertrail




msg:3082032
 8:36 pm on Sep 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

If a similar case is tried in a US court the damages would likely be a lot higher.... spammers beware!

koan




msg:3082144
 10:05 pm on Sep 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

For example, if you were awarded $25,000 for waste of time, worries, emotional distress, then that would be an extremely unreasonable judgement. If you were awarded $2,500 then maybe, just maybe, it might resemble something proportionate and fair, but it would probably still be a little high.

The law must deter such antisocial activities with either financial fees or prison.

Spammer making millions in a year won't be bothered by ridiculously low fees such as you suggest, it'll just be cost of doing business. It must be proportional to the gain they make. Something like 1$ per email sent (especially since most people won't drag him to court) would scale perfectly to the amount of damage they inflict, which include harassment, personal waste of time, waste of employees productivity and technological damage (server crashing, using other people's infected computer, forcing companies to upgrade or buy antispam products, etc). That's the financial part.

For the prison part, you need to punish criminal activities to make it an effective deterrent. If a thief was only obligated to restitute what he stole, he would just be back to how he was before his crime. What's to stop him from just doing it over and over and keep all the money for those times he isn't caught? The consequence of getting caught one time must be disastrous enough that he won't take the chances of doing the crime in the first place, or that when he is caught, he won't do it again.

Why are you so soft on spammers?

joaquin112




msg:3082249
 12:50 am on Sep 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

... and the worst thing is that email SPAM does not work...

You're wrong. It DOES work. Trust me, I know ;)

Liane




msg:3082251
 12:59 am on Sep 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

I think this is wonderful news! Take that you son of a .....!

I HATE all spammers and just love to hear the hammer of justice fall on their pointy little tinfoil covered heads. Bwahahahaha!

Go get em' MSN ... get the whole lousy lot of the blighters and take them for every cent they have cost every one of us world wide! My share of losses directly and indirectly caused by SPAM is substantial (to me) and I'm sure there are many here who feel the same way!

I would do far worse to them if I could get my hands on them ... but just knowing that a civil case has been won will have to suffice! :)

vincevincevince




msg:3082270
 1:26 am on Sep 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

Hands up those of you who have never agreed to the Hotmail conditions. Nobody? Right then... that's one useful contract not to spam Microsoft's customers that Microsoft has probably got 99% of spammers bound by. Obviously the next question which arises is whether such an agreement is valid when it was entered into using a false name and address, as is so commonly the case.

It also re-opens the 'conditions of use of site' kettle-of-fish. If I only list my email address on my site and state on my site that by accessing the site or keeping a copy of the site in whole or in part the visitor agrees not to send me any SPAM, will that too be upheld by the court?

punitive damages

Are where civil and criminal law get mixed up. Most countries outside the US prefer to punish using criminal law and compensate using civil law.

If you send me a lot of spam I should not be 'better off' from it, I should only be compensated for damages. You, on the other hand, should not only compensate me for damages but be tried under criminal law and jailed or fined appropriately.

gibbergibber




msg:3082742
 11:52 am on Sep 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

--And why would you not be able to show these damages in a court of law?--

Their server might be worn out from 10,000 spams a day, but that doesn't mean all those spams came from one person, they might have come from hundreds or thousands of different sources.

Under UK law the owner would have to deal with all those spammers one by one, it would take years to trace a majority of them.

And it would also be difficult to show any one spammer caused the damage when their spam only accounted for a tiny fraction of the total traffic that wore the server out.

These laws were clearly drawn up to deter specific attacks with significant damage, but the problem with spam isn't each spammer's damage, but the cumulative effect of tens of thousands of spammers spamming hundreds of millions of people a day.

The only practical way to stop spam is to say the act itself is wrong, regardless of how much damage that particular spam or spammer caused.

mcavic




msg:3082899
 2:18 pm on Sep 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

Gosh! I guess their stockholders can expect a special dividend this year :)

That works out to much less than $0.01 per share. It's an excellent result, though.

The consequence of getting caught one time must be disastrous enough that he won't take the chances of doing the crime in the first place, or that when he is caught, he won't do it again.

Exactly. Sadly, the deterrence doesn't always work. But it needs to be there. People who think spamming is okay need to be taught otherwise.

Since the beginning of last year, Microsoft has initiated 60 US lawsuits against alleged spammers. Half a dozen cases have been decided in Redmond's favour, with one dismissal. Microsoft settled with four defendants and pushed two others into bankruptcy. In all, Microsoft has received $54m in judgments from the US courts, the company said.
[theregister.co.uk...]

Even better.

vik_c




msg:3083298
 6:19 pm on Sep 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

That works out to much less than $0.01 per share. It's an excellent result, though.

I was just mocking the ridiculously low settlement awarded. Didn't mean my comment to be taken literally.

mcavic




msg:3083307
 6:33 pm on Sep 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

I was just mocking the ridiculously low settlement awarded.

True, it's better than nothing though, especially since it's for breach of TOS, rather than spamming.

outland88




msg:3083629
 11:59 pm on Sep 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

In the most recent statistics I looked at from Hotmail they said they actually received on average 400 billion pieces of mail a day worldwide. Of that 360 billion were classified spam. Now one would suppose using those figures that 40 billion of those e-mails were legitimate. No Hotmail stated that on the average only 400 million pieces a day could be classified as legitimate. Thatís an awful lot of costs being devoted to spammers. I think when I broke it down once it averaged one legitimate piece of mail for every 800-1200 pieces of spam. In other words for you to see 15 pieces of legitimate mail servers must block 12,000 pieces of spam. Thatís an astounding figure to me.

Based upon country of origin China and other countries in that area led the stats for sending spam. The US fell significantly behind. As I recalled we either slightly outranked or slightly fell behind Russia. The report speculated the USís position was largely because of spam laws. That Russiaís position was due to much of the population not being computer enabled. Speculation was also India Australia New Zealand etc. now funneled much of their spam through Chinese servers. This report also pointed out that even though more countries were enacting spam laws spam had never declined from a previous period. Hotmail also pointed this out.

wmuser




msg:3086758
 10:09 pm on Sep 17, 2006 (gmt 0)

Thats the first time i can remember of when a free email provider has sued its user.
Anyway the spam is getting bigger ad bigger issue year to year,major companies should do anything about it

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