User Sting Leads to Anti-Spam Suit in Va. Today

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A group representing Internet users in more than 100 countries filed suit today seeking to find out how companies that send out so-called spam advertisements to millions of recipients at a time are getting the e-mail addresses they need to do so.

The suit was filed against unknown “John Does” as defendants in federal court in Alexandria, Va., based on special “spam-trap” software utilized by by Project Honey Pot, which is part of a Utah-based company, Unspam Technologies, reports the Washington Post. The software essentially allowed participating Web site owners to conduct a sting operation to capture Internet routing information to help identify those involved in alleged spam efforts, according to the article.

The suit alleges violations of state and federal anti-spam statutes, and seeks an injunction “to prevent further unlawful conduct,” unspecified compensatory and punitive damages and attorney fees.

“It is clear that the key to stopping spam is identifying those responsible for it, and getting that information into the hands of those capable of doing something about it,” says Jon Praed of Arlington, Va., the lead attorney for the plaintiffs. He has previously represented America Online and Verizon Online in cases about junk e-mail.

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