Judge Bars Sending of Unwanted E-Mail
NEW YORK (AP) - A state judge Wednesday (Jan. 22, 2003) barred a Niagra Falls company from sending commercial e-mails to Internet subscribers without their permission.
State Supreme Court Justice Lottie E. Wilkins permanently enjoined MonsterHut Inc., which state officials accused of sending some 500 million unsolicited commercial e-mails and then telling complaining recipients that they had requested it.
State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer sued MonsterHut after some 750,000 computer users complained that since March 2001 they had received the unwanted messages also known as computer spam and tried to have them stopped but were told they had “opted in” to receive them.
Spitzer said MonsterHut.com told its clients - and later, the court - that the recipients had agreed to receive e-mail through “third party, permission-based” agreements. This meant that MonsterHut.com got the computer users’ names from organizations that had already gotten permission to send ads to them.
The judge said MonsterHut.com had “not offered any proof or legal basis to demonstrate that their practice conforms with industry-wide accepted ‘opt in’ protocols.” She barred the firm from further “fraudulent, deceptive and illegal acts and practices” pertaining to e-mail advertising.
There was no telephone listing for MonsterHut in Niagara Falls or the surrounding area.
Spam comes from many sources worldwide and increasingly clogs e-mail systems with pitches that include ways to lose weight, earn extra income, improve sexual performance, buy merchandise at wholesale, make a killing on eBay, grow a larger penis, develop a tigher vagina, eliminate debt, apply for credit cards with no background checks, find sexual partners, establish an online business, remove unwanted mole hair, subscribe to free newsletters, apply for bogus passports, win money at gambling, view pornography, control farting, or obtain tens of millions of US$ from Nigerian civil servants.