By Laura Yecies
In the past few months, several major cases involving some of the world’s most notorious spammers have had dramatically different outcomes.
Last week, Herbal King had its operations shuttered by a US District Court because the company was using spammers around the world to market its male-enhancement drugs. The case is pending trial, but the outcome could have distinct ramifications by significantly deterring US-based companies from risking the use of overseas-based contract spammers.
In another development recently, one of the biggest individual spammers of all time has got off scot-free in Virginia.
On Friday, the Virginia state Supreme Court struck down the state’s anti-spam law, reversing the felony conviction of one Jeremy Jaynes. While the name might not mean anything to you, this one person reportedly was responsible for sending millions of messages A DAY.
He didn’t even argue innocence. He claimed the First Amendment gives him the right to fill your inbox with junk mail. Okay, not exactly, but close. His lawyers argued the law was unconstitutional because it banned bulk email including religious or political (which are protected speech). The court agreed.
Obviously the state government had intended to outlaw the kind of commercial spam Mr. Jaynes. But it serves as a good warning for states looking to enact similar laws: be specific.
The good news is that Mr. Jaynes and other spammers are not immune from the federal Can-Spam act, which is unaffected by the Virginia decision. So despite this set-back, you shouldn’t see a measurable increase in spam as a result.
Spam continues to be a scourge. Even if you are using your ZA anti-spam feature, spam continues to suck up bandwidth on networks, slowing Internet traffic and putting a major burden on ISPs and Web mail services. And for people not using an effective anti-spam solution, it is not only a nuisance but can include spyware, scams, or phishing lures.
Until the war again spam is won, stay vigilant!