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FTC Halts Four Spamming Operations

The Federal Trade Commission has ordered a complete halt to four illegal spamming maneuvers. One of the operations related to opportunities to "date lonely wives" and two others that hacked the computers of innocent parties used them to deliver consumers with sexually imaged explicit e-mails. The FTC accused the spammers of violating the CAN-SPAM Act and has brought them to close all illegal spamming.

The US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, charged a fine of $400,000 against "Cleverlink Trading" and its associates for sending spam mails that offered opportunity to "date lonely wives", which obviated from the provisions of the CAN-SPAM Act.

The first requirement of CAN-SPAM Act is that spam mail messages must be labeled as 'ads'. Then they should include the sender's postal address, provide for opting-out, label contents that are sexually explicit, and not show graphic sexual pictures in the beginning of the message.

The judgment passed on September 14, 2006 prohibits "Cleverlink Trading" and its affiliates from future violations of CAN-SPAM Act and imposes the necessity of observing the "Adult Labeling Rule". At the same time the affiliates must be constantly monitored.

FTC accused Zachary Kinion for sending spam messages that promoted adult sites, mortgage rates and privacy software. It also blamed Kinion for paying third parties to send junk e-mails and his own company for sending spam through "zombie" computers.

The settlement further prohibits Kinion to send e-mails that contain misleading subject lines, misrepresent the message content, fail to have an opt-out option, do not have a postal address or do not declare the spam as an advertisement.

The other spam maneuver used "spam zombies" to hide the source of the 'sexually explicit spam'. The FTC maintained that the defendants were not authorized to use the zombie PCs and their spam obviated from the provisions of the "Adult Labeling Rule". The rule bars sexually explicit pictures in the initial area of an e-mail and requires the appearance of "SEXUALLY EXPLICIT" in the subject line. The settlement asks them to pay up $8,000 as compensation for money lost in the process of the case and warns them of violating CAN-SPAM Act and the Adult Labeling Rule.

Related article: FTC Reaches Million-Dollar Settlement For Spyware

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