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Microsoft Files Suits Against Seven Spammers

Microsoft has filed lawsuits against seven alleged violators of the CAN-SPAM anti-spam law.

In an announcement Thursday, Microsoft said the unnamed targets of the lawsuits had violated the federal law called Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography (CAM "SPAM). The litigation was the latest in a series of actions taken by Microsoft against spam.

"Sexually explicit materials and publications for sale in stores are required by law to be covered from view with a brown paper wrapper," said Nancy Anderson, Microsoft vice president and deputy general counsel, in a statement, "and, it's important that consumers are protected online in the same way."

Microsoft indicated that the defendants used compromised computers around the world, utilizing so-called "zombie" computers, whose owners often don't know their computers are being used to transmit the questionable material. In addition, the charges include the use of misleading subject lines and failure to include an "opt out" message and physical address of the senders.

Besides viewing spam as a nuisance for owners of Microsoft software, the firm has a personal reason to stamp out unwanted spam: Microsoft's chairman Bill Gates has been called the world's most spammed person, receiving more than 4 million spam messages every day. Gates has pledged to solve the spam nuisance by early 2006 and this week's litigation is likely a step towards reaching that goal.

The CAN-SPAM law, primarily overseen by the Federal Trade Commission, was formally adopted this past May, but most surveys indicate that spam continues to proliferate at unabated rates.

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