Monday, 9 January 2006

Suing the spammers: update

I recently posted about Nigel Roberts, who successfully sued a UK spammer, Media Logistics under the UK Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (based on an EU law).

He's just revamped and updated his Spam Legal Action site. He says that he will be appearing on UK consumer TV show Watchdog soon, probably airing this week.

Also he's included on his site a copy of the court order in his case, and his statement on damages for disposal hearing - you may recall from my post that in fact Media Logistics agreed to pay him £300 so the judge never got to pronounce on how much the damages should be and how they should be calculated, and I was worried that if it had gone that far it might have been difficult for him to prove his damage suffered. Well his statement on damages for disposal hearing clearly summarises the costs to him of receiving spam, and his arguments (which the judge didn't have to consider in the end) in favour of getting at least £50 in damages. Interesting reading, if you like that sort of thing!

I really hope his planned spam legal action support group Spamclaim will take off - it rather sounds like things have really gathered momentum on this front.

Separately, you may have heard that a Florida spammer James McCalla was ordered to pay up to $11.2 billion by an Iowa district court after a small ISP CIS Internet Services sued him. (Via Out-Law.) Great news all round.

I suspect that in the UK and Europe too, it will be much easier for ISPs than private individuals to prove their damage and loss caused by spam, and yet only private individuals are allowed to sue under the Privacy Regulations as far as I know. A difficult paradox. I don't know enough yet about the anti-spam laws, but I hope that there will be a way for ISPs to sue spammers here too - that's in my view the best way to get significant damages ordered against them so hitting them harder in the pocketbook where it should hurt them the most (though I think technical measures to spam should of course not be neglected either; it's in being able to recover from spammers the costs of taking those measures that law and technology may be able to mesh very well).

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