Microsoft has launched seven lawsuits against spammers, using the powers offered by CAN-SPAM. Seven “John Doe” lawsuits were filed in Washington State Superior Court acting on new legislation that requires sexually explicit material to be labelled.
"It's good news," said Steve Linford, director of anti-spam service Spamhaus. "It's nice to see these large entities like Microsoft and AOL taking action."
But Linford questioned how effective the action will be. "It's going to be difficult to pin these guys down, and I don't think it will deter the big boys from continuing their practice."
Spamhaus blacklists regular spammers, but despite the service Linford said the big players are unlikely to stop.
"Although any lawsuit is a good thing the law isn't strong enough to pin down the serious professionals," said Linford. "For example, in Texas and Florida criminal property is protected. Only Australia has strong enough anti-spam legislation to have any real effect."
As early as February 2003 Microsoft was filing lawsuits against spammers. Linford claimed that in the future they might have more success. "I went to the EU in August and asked them to toughen up. They seemed receptive and hopefully in the future we'll see some legislation more akin to that in Australia," he said.