Netherlands punishes massive spam campaign

A Dutch spammer who sent more than 9 billion email will pay one of the highest fines ever levied in the Netherlands for distributing unsolicited electronic messages.

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A Dutch spammer who sent more than 9 billion email will pay one of the highest fines ever levied in the Netherlands for distributing unsolicited electronic messages.

The advertisements promoting erection pills, pornographic websites and other sex products

The Dutch telecommunications regulator, OPTA, slapped a €75,000 fine (£50,031) on an unidentified man for clogging computer users’ mailboxes with an unusually high volume of spam email and earning around €40,000 (£20,421) in the process, the regulator said today.

OPTA said its estimate of how much spam the man sent was at the low end.

The most recent fine tops the €42,000 (£21,442) levied by the Dutch regulator in 2004.

Factors weighing into OPTA’s decision for a higher fine were the sheer volume of email and the use of several hundred ‘zombie’ computers or PCs penetrated by the spammer without owners' knowledge and used to forward the messages.

Dutch authorities were alerted to the spammer by various computer users and companies, including Microsoft. OPTA Chairman Chris Fonteijn said governments and businesses need to work hand in hand to combat spam effectively.

Earlier in the week, a Dutch court sentenced two hackers to jail for infecting millions of computers with malware and stealing personal data, including credit card details. They used the information to buy a variety of consumer electronic products.

The EU issued a directive two years ago, requiring companies promoting products and services by email, SMS, facsimile or mobile phones to receive permission by recipients and to reveal their identity.

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