Spammers win $11 million over antispam blacklist company

Tom Keating : VoIP & Gadgets Blog
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Spammers win $11 million over antispam blacklist company

According to a CNet article, a U.S. District Court in Illinois has ordered Spamhaus to pay $11,715,000 in damages to e360insight and its chief, David Linhardt, who had sued Spamhuas over illegal blacklisting. e360insight by all accounts a known spammer and therefore Spamhaus refused to remove them from their blacklist - used by thousands of organizations. In fact, TMC uses Spamhaus on our email server to filter spam. It's one of my favorite email blacklists since it is very accurate with very few false positives.

Spamhaus didn't mount a defense in the case so the ruling was a default judgment in absence of any counterarguments. Now get this - the court barred Spamhaus, a U.K.-based organization from causing any e-mail sent by e360insight or Linhardt to be "blocked, delayed, altered, or interrupted in anyway" and ordered Spamhaus to publish an apology for that states that Linhardt and his company are not spammers, according to a copy of the order.

What a joke! A U.S. court ordering an independent company from maintaining a list of IP addresses and domains? I should point out that blacklists in themselves DO NOT BLOCK email. Companies voluntarily SUBSCRIBE to these free blacklists in order to filter out the massive spam that is becoming an ever increasing problem. If you ask me, Spamhaus could have easily won this court case had they decided to mount a defense. For one, the 1st Amendment would trump just about anything the plaintiff claims. Secondly, they are spammers, so what judge would want a legitimate blacklist company from protecting their subscribers from these vile spammers?

I love this quote from the spammer sent to CNet. "This ruling confirms e360insight's position that Spamhaus.org is a fanatical, vigilante organization that operates in the United States with blatant disregard for U.S. law," Linhardt wrote in an e-mail to CNET News.com on Thursday.

I have had the same corporate email address for 12 years, longer than most people and therefore my email address is known to just about every spammer in the book. I get over about 200 spam emails a day which does affect my productivity. Even though I have filters and I tag blacklisted emails, it still takes time to sift through them all to make sure there are no false positives. This is why I passionately despise spammers.

Fortunately, Spamhaus isn't taking this ridiculous U.S ruling lying down. In fact, they're ignoring it. According to CNet,"Default judgments obtained in US county, state or federal courts have no validity in the UK and can not be enforced under the British legal system," Spamhaus said on its Web site. "As spamming is illegal in the UK, an Illinois court ordering a British organization to stop blocking incoming Illinois spam in Britain goes contrary to UK law which orders all spammers to cease sending spam in the first place."

You go Spamhaus!


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