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Microsoft takes 15 spammers to court

Improving e-mail from Microsoft support

Microsoft is taking on spammers on behalf of its beloved customers.

Fifteen complaints were filed in the U.S. and U.K. against alleged spammers said to have sent out more than 2 billion e-mails. Microsoft held press conferences on both sides of the Atlantic to promote its campaign against "flooding Microsoft's customers and its systems" with spam.

It's touching to see Microsoft back such a worthy cause. For some time, Hotmail users have had to put up with more than their fair share of spam. They need help.

The legal action might also help clear up those pesky virus spams directed at Microsoft users. There's nothing worse than facing an inbox full of chocolate-covered schoolgirls and computer-crippling support notices at the same time.

In the U.S., Microsoft is taking spammers to task under the Washington state antispam law, which provides ISPs with some measures to stop unsolicited email. Two civil suits were filed in the U.K. under the Misuse of Computers Act of 1990.

"In some cases, defendants are alleged to have used deceptive and misleading subject lines to disguise e-mail messages that actually contained pornographic images, dating service solicitations and other adult services," Microsoft said in a statement. "One case involves e-mail messages that include a false virus warning."

You don't say.

Redmond is not depending on the courts to stop the spam scourge. Products such as MSN 8 and the upcoming Exchange and Outlook messaging client in Office 2003 will have "effective" antispam technology.

Hopefully, Microsoft will push some of that effective technology over to Hotmail where messages users send to themselves from another account often end up in the Spam box, while notes from pistol-whipped midgets go right on through. ®

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