The ISP bites back.
EarthLink , an Internet service provider, has announced legal action against a multi-state spam ring called the Alabama Spammers. The 16 individuals and corporations allegedly sent out more than 250 million illegal junk emails and “represent a technically sophisticated criminal organization that engaged in a massive scheme of theft, spamming and spoofing.” The lawsuit alleges that the defendants used a hierarchy of falsified names, false addresses and non-existent corporate entities to disguise the identities of individuals involved.
Earthlink’s allegations make the group sound pretty scary. “To further hide their identities, the defendants used spam emails to direct people to dynamically-hosted Web sites that would disappear after advertising a product.” In its lawsuit, EarthLink is charging the defendants with violating federal and state laws, including federal and state civil RICO laws, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, and the Georgia Computer Systems Protection Act. The lawsuit also alleges that the defendants used stolen or falsified credit cards, identity theft, banking fraud and other illegal activities to fraudulently purchase Internet accounts and send out their junk emails.
It’s not the first time Earthlink have gone after spammers, and, as Techdirt points out, they’re not the only ones to do so. And it’s probably no bad thing. If what Earthlink alleges is true, there’s a clear link here between spammers and crime which needs to be investigated and exposed.