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by Mike Masnick


Filed Under:
anti-spam, fines



Anti-Spammer Fined For DNS Lookup Of Spammer

from the ouch dept

Anti-spam activists often need to do quite a bit of hunting to track down the real identity of various spammers. Over the years, spammers have become increasingly adept at hiding from those trying to shine light on their activities. However, when one well-known anti-spammer used some standard whois and DNS lookup tools (the same kind many of us use every day) to find out the identity of a spammer, the spammer sued him... and won! The anti-spammer has to pay over $60,000 in fines, and possibly much more once lawyers' fees are added up. The judge ruled that some rather basic tools suddenly constituted "hacking" even though the details don't suggest any actual hacking. The anti-spammer simply used the tools available to get the information necessary. He didn't need to break through any security or do anything malicious to get the info. If you read the ruling, it sounds like a judge could define plenty of perfectly normal online activities as "hacking." Update: There's a good discussion in the comments, suggesting that there's a lot more going on here than is clear from the article itself. The judge's finding of facts suggest that the anti-spammer did some questionable things, including lying and ignoring an injunction -- which certainly hurt his case. However, others are suggesting that the judge's finding of facts are incorrect and there's much more to this story that will come out on appeal.

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  1. identicon
    Venkat, 18 Jan 2008 @ 10:52am

    Feels Like an Overreaction

    It certainly feels like an over-reaction to me. I don't know whether the order was drafted by the other side's lawyers or by the judge, but it makes reference to the defendant providing "false" testimony. This never sits well with a judge. And there's the matter of the previously issued injunction.

    There can certainly be argument about whether it makes sense to make innocent conduct illegal, but it seems like there's a whole lot more going on in the case.

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