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Earthlink escapes blame over phishing cock-up

Legit bank loses case over dodgy site slur

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Earthlink, the leading US ISP, has escaped blame for distributing software that incorrectly identified the website of a legitimate bank as potentially fraudulent. Associated Bank-Corp's lawsuit against the US ISP for negligence and injury to its reputation was rejected by a US judge on the grounds that Earthink licensed the inaccurate information about the bank from an unnamed third party, CNET reports.

Users of Earthlink's free "ScamBlocker" toolbar visiting AssociatedBank.com were told the site was "potentially fraudulent" adding that users should "not continue to this potentially risky site". Associated Bank, which operates from 300 branches across America's Mid West, was understandably miffed and launched a suit back in April.

US District Judge John Shabaz last week ruled that Earthlink was not liable for using dicky data from a third party because of provisions in the 1996 Telecommunications Act. "Because the evidence indicates the information came from another provider, defendant cannot be held liable for the republication of the statements," he wrote.

The decision leaves to door open to a possible lawsuit by Associated Bank-Corp against the firms that supplied Earthlink with incorrect information but its unclear if Associated Bank-Corp will take up this option. ®

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