Feeds

Microsoft wins UK ruling to ban spam list sales

Can seek compensation, too

SANS - Survey on application security programs

Microsoft has stopped a man from selling lists of email addresses which were being used for spam. A court has granted a summary judgment against Paul Martin McDonald, stopping him from selling the lists.

Microsoft owns and runs Hotmail, a free, web based email service. It sought a summary judgment from the English courts to stop McDonald from operating his Bizads business, which offered for sale lists of email addresses of people which were used as the basis of spam by those who purchased the lists.

Microsoft said that the activity breached the Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations. It argued that because a high proportion of the people receiving the emails complained about them it was suffering loss and damage to the goodwill it had as operators of Hotmail.

Judge Lewison agreed and granted the judgment against McDonald. Pointing out that the law was designed to protect both email subscribers and electronic communications networks, Lewison said that Microsoft had a right to use the law.

"[Microsoft] had a cause of action under the Regulations, as it fell within the class of persons for whom the benefit of the statutory requirement in the Regulations was imposed and the purpose of the Regulations was to enable a claim for relief to be brought," he said in judgment.

"The evidence plainly established that the business of Bizads was supplying email lists of persons who had not consented to receive direct marketing mail and that it had encouraged purchasers of the lists to send emails to those people," said Lewison. "The lists contravened reg. 22, as they concerned the sending of unsolicited emails and the words of the Bizads website instigated the sending of emails."

A summary judgment was appropriate, he said, because "[McDonald] had no reasonable prospect of defending the allegation that he was behind the business".

"[Microsoft] had suffered a loss as a result of the breach of the Regulations and was entitled to compensation and an injunction restraining P from instigating the transmission of commercial emails to Hotmail accounts," ruled Lewison.

"This ruling represents a significant step forward in the UK and across Europe in discouraging perpetrators of spam by encouraging organisations to bring court proceedings against those who continue to conduct these illegal activities," a Microsoft spokesperson told OUT-LAW.

"Spam is damaging to all users of the internet, placing enormous demands on resources for both individuals and organisations," said the spokesperson. "Microsoft is committed to developing assistive technologies to help people reduce the levels of unsolicited email they receive and to using legal means against those who unlawfully instigate or transmit spam."

Copyright © 2006, OUT-LAW.com

OUT-LAW.COM is part of international law firm Pinsent Masons.

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Obama allows NSA to exploit 0-days: report
If the spooks say they need it, they get it
Samsung Galaxy S5 fingerprint scanner hacked in just 4 DAYS
Sammy's newbie cooked slower than iPhone, also costs more to build
Putin tells Snowden: Russia conducts no US-style mass surveillance
Gov't is too broke for that, Russian prez says
Snowden-inspired crypto-email service Lavaboom launches
German service pays tribute to Lavabit
Mounties always get their man: Heartbleed 'hacker', 19, CUFFED
Canadian teen accused of raiding tax computers using OpenSSL bug
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Call of Duty 'fragged using OpenSSL's Heartbleed exploit'
So it begins ... or maybe not, says one analyst
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.