Messenger Spam Senders Fighting Back Against FTC

from the let-us-spam-in-peace! dept

Last month the FTC decided that it was time to crack down on the issue of Windows Messenger spam – which had been getting some attention lately. Messenger spam has nothing to do with instant messaging, but with the Windows Messenger product that is used by network admins and such to alert computer users of important things (“our network is going down for five minutes” or something like that). Most home computers (and many work computers) have no need to have this feature turned on – but many still do and spammers were exploiting that. When the FTC decided to crack down they took action against one company that had been known to send the messages every ten minutes in some cases. It turns out the company is run by two college kids who are now (surprisingly) fighting back against the FTC. Part of the claim against them was that their spam messages were touting software that could block these messages. As someone points out, it’s a bit like “vandals throwing bricks through windows to sell home-security systems.” The defense from the kids is that (a) they weren’t doing anything illegal by sending out these spam messages (b) the messages did no damage and (c) the software they were selling actually did block those messages. Thus, they say that using messenger spam was actually a good way of targeting customers who needed their software. Of course, they leave out is that you don’t actually need any software to turn off the Messenger feature. Their lawyer is also painting them as “good kids” who would never do anything harmful. They might have a case. As much as I believe they knew exactly what they were doing in annoying the hell out of a lot of people, it is questionable whether or not it was illegal.

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