Sexually explicit spammers targeted in new lawsuits

Microsoft has announced seven new lawsuits against email spammers. The defendants, who have yet to be identified, are accused of emailing sexually explicit content in a way that contravened the US CAN-SPAM law.

Microsoft says they violated the provision in CAN-SPAM known as the ‘brown paper wrapper’, i.e. the explicit content was initially viewable in the email and not concealed in any way for those who would choose not to view it. The labelling provisions of CAN-SPAM require such emails to include the label ‘SEXUALLY-EXPLICIT:’ in both the subject line and the viewable area of the message.

‘Sexually explicit materials and publications for sale in stores are required by law to be covered from view with a brown paper wrapper, and it’s important that consumers are protected online in the same way,’ said Nancy Anderson, deputy general counsel at Microsoft. ‘Microsoft is committed to ensuring that Internet users are safe online and protected from receiving inappropriate content in email that is unsolicited, unwanted and illegal.’

The seven lawsuits were filed yesterday in Washington State Superior Court in King County. As well as the CAN-SPAM federal law, Washington state’s Commercial Electronic Mail Act was also allegedly violated through the use of misleading subject lines and failing to include an unsubscribe option and physical address.

Compromised computers were used to route the spam email messages around the world.

Back in October, Microsoft announced its second round of enforcement actions filed by the Anti-Spam alliance, acting alongside AOL, EarthLink and Yahoo!, as part of the Anti-Spam Alliance – Anti-Spam Alliance extends legal action against spammers.

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