Spam sign-up man convicted of harassment

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A US man who signed his boss up to various spam lists has been convicted of harassment. Scott Huffines, 41, from Essex County near Baltimore, Maryland, was sentenced to probation and 100 hours community service this week after pleading guilty to misuse of electronic mail, the Baltimore Sun reports.

The Web designer signed Alex Vitalo, his female supervisor at Maryland Public Television, up to dating services and job sites. But the revenge ploy backfired when his victim forced an investigation that traced the sign up messages back to Huffines. The case is reckoned to be the first of its kind considered by US courts.

In other junk-mail related news, Israeli legislators are considering the introduction of a law that would let spam recipients sue spammers for compensation. The idea was suggested by Knesset rep Gila Finkelstein as an amendment to a bill that would compensate people sent unsolicited advertising via fax or mobile phone, Israeli English language daily Haaretz reports. Victims need not prove they have lost out in any way before claiming compensation but you have to wonder how much a disincentive the suggested law might be when the vast majority of spammers live outside Israel and local police are reportedly unable to enforce existing prohibitions against spam advertising even within the country. ®

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