Texas Attorney General Greg Abbot is taking a student, allegedly at the centre of one of the world’s largest spam operations, to court.
Ryan Pitylak, 22, of the University of Texas has been named alongside colleague Mart Trotter, of Encinitas in California, in a lawsuit filed under the Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing act (Canspam).
"Spam is one of the most aggravating and pervasive problems facing consumers today," said Abbott when he filed the case. "Unwanted, unsolicited e-mail clogs the computers of Texas consumers and Texas businesses, wasting precious time and money. Texans are fed up, and today's action aims to give them relief by shutting down one of the world's worst spam operations."
Anti-spam organisation Spamhaus lists Pitylak, Trotter and a further colleague Steve Goudreault as the fourth worst offenders in its list of the top ten international spammers. Pitylak and Trotter's spamming business, PayPerAction, is registered in Nevada.
If found guilty the pair face at least $2 million in fines for sending millions of unsolicited emails to potential customers. Canspam was introduced in 2003 as a means of controlling email abuse. Abbot's lawsuit represents Texas' first case filed under the act.