Application security

Court orders $11B in spam damages

A U.S.-based ISP has been awarded damages of $11 billion in a judgment against a Florida man who sent millions of unsolicited spam emails.

Robert W. Kramer, owner of CIS Internet Services in Iowa, filed a lawsuit against James McCalla, of Florida, claiming that more than 280 million illegal spam messages were sent to CIS email accounts, advertising mortgages, debt consolidation services, pornographic and gambling websites.

The judgement handed down by U.S. District Judge Charles R. Wolle on Dec. 23 of last year, also prohibits McCalla from accessing the internet for three years.

"This judgement against a spammer is undoubtedly the biggest we have ever heard of," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos. "Spam is not just a nuisance for individual computer users who find their inboxes clogged up with unwanted mail, but for ISPs who are hit in the pocket by having to pay for the bandwidth to deliver and store hundreds of millions of messages."

Kramer said that he thought it was unlikely that he would ever see any of the judgment money.

"I'm pleased with Judge Wolle's ruling," Kramer said in a statement. "It's a victory for every email user and every responsible ISP. It's proof our courts and Congress are committed to protecting the public."

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