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New York's AG sues e-mail `spammers'

May 28, 2002 

State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer is suing a firm he says sent more than 500 million messages to computer users, many of them unwanted "spam" advertisements.

Spitzer said of Niagara Falls sent hundreds of millions of the ads through e-mails since March 2001 to people who didn't want the messages or specifically tried to block the stream of commercial offers. had told its clients that the recipients wanted the messages through "permission-based" agreements, according to court records.

About 750,000 computer users complained about receiving spam, or junk mail, Spitzer said.

Spam comes from many sources worldwide and increasingly clogs e-mail systems with pitches that include ways to lose weight, earn extra income or to view pornography.

MonsterHut officials didn't immediately respond to a request for comment. It's Web site no longer is active.

Since the mid-1990s, Internet service providers America Online, EarthLink and others have won millions of dollars in settlements and judgments against spammers under trespass, computer fraud and other laws.

Spitzer is suing under the state's traditional deceptive practice and false advertising statutes that could exact civil penalties of $500 for each offense.

Nineteen other states now have anti-spam laws that prohibit false messages or headers in e-mail messages, require labels in subject lines or the option of declining a marketer's future mailings.

By MICHAEL GORMLEY, The Associated Press. Copyright 2002 Associated Press.

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