FED'S SUE PORN SPAMMER
- FTC SUES PORN SPAMMER
Used Misleading Subject Lines, False E-mail Addresses
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) filed a lawsuit against Brian D. Westby, a
Missourian, for violating federal anti-spam laws by sending unsolicited
e-mails with misleading subject lines. The complaint states that the spam, when
opened by unsuspecting consumers, contained adult-oriented material including
images of of naked women and links to porn Web sites operated by Westby.
The complaint alleges that Westby used subject lines such as “What is wrong”
and “Fwd: You may want to reboot your computer” to lure people to open the
spam, and then used false “reply to” or “from” information that made it
appear that some uninvolved person was the sender (a practice called “spoofing”).
The FTC says that these innocent third parties often received hundreds of
angry e-mails from the spam recipients. The agency claims defendant’s practices
violate Section 45(a) of the FTC Act.
FTC attorney Steven Wernikoff said the FTC had received approximately 46,000
complaints about defendant’s activities. “When consumers open up the e-mail
they’re often greeted with pictures of naked women,” Wernikoff said. “The
deceptive subject lines enable spam to evade filters and expose consumers to
unwanted and often graphic sexual material.”
Why This Matters: This lawsuit shows how the FTC will prosecute an alleged
notorious spammer/spoofer using the ALEADY existing consumer law, instead of
waiting for federal anti-spam legislation to be enacted.
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