US spammer fined £75k for porn sting

'Entirely inappropriate'


A US company has been fined £75,000 for spamming punters with porn emails that led to users racking up whopping phone bills.

The spam sent by New York-based BW Telecom contained peak-rate dialler software which disconnected users from their ISP before reconnecting them to a service that charged them £1.50 a minute for Net access.

UK premium-rate services regulator ICSTIS found that the email containing the Ts&Cs and dialler software was confusing.

Not only were punters, in many cases, unaware of what they were clicking onto, the software continued to work even when punters left the XXX content supplied by BW Telecom.

Further monitoring of the service showed that the software failed to disconnect automatically once the cost of the call had reached the limit of £20.00 set for premium rate services.

In all, ICSTIS received 240 complaints about the spam which promoted a premium rate adult Internet site.

Fining BW Telecom £75,000 and barring access to the service for a year, ICSTIS said: "The sending of the e-mails appeared to be entirely inappropriate as they were sent on an unsolicited basis to random e-mail addresses with no apparent attempt made to prevent them from being sent to children."

It has also instructed BW Telecom to reimburse those stung by its operation.

In 2002 two European porn operators were slapped with fines totaling £125,000 for running ads featuring child pornography.

Spanish-based Greenock (£75,000) and German-based Premium Call GmbH (£50,000) were also thumped for using dialler software that automatically downloaded itself onto PCs without users' knowledge before charging them £1.50 a minute. ®

Related Story

Euro porn ops fined £125K for premium rate abuse


Other stories you might like

  • Experts: AI should be recognized as inventors in patent law
    Plus: Police release deepfake of murdered teen in cold case, and more

    In-brief Governments around the world should pass intellectual property laws that grant rights to AI systems, two academics at the University of New South Wales in Australia argued.

    Alexandra George, and Toby Walsh, professors of law and AI, respectively, believe failing to recognize machines as inventors could have long-lasting impacts on economies and societies. 

    "If courts and governments decide that AI-made inventions cannot be patented, the implications could be huge," they wrote in a comment article published in Nature. "Funders and businesses would be less incentivized to pursue useful research using AI inventors when a return on their investment could be limited. Society could miss out on the development of worthwhile and life-saving inventions."

    Continue reading
  • Declassified and released: More secret files on US govt's emergency doomsday powers
    Nuke incoming? Quick break out the plans for rationing, censorship, property seizures, and more

    More papers describing the orders and messages the US President can issue in the event of apocalyptic crises, such as a devastating nuclear attack, have been declassified and released for all to see.

    These government files are part of a larger collection of records that discuss the nature, reach, and use of secret Presidential Emergency Action Documents: these are executive orders, announcements, and statements to Congress that are all ready to sign and send out as soon as a doomsday scenario occurs. PEADs are supposed to give America's commander-in-chief immediate extraordinary powers to overcome extraordinary events.

    PEADs have never been declassified or revealed before. They remain hush-hush, and their exact details are not publicly known.

    Continue reading
  • Stolen university credentials up for sale by Russian crooks, FBI warns
    Forget dark-web souks, thousands of these are already being traded on public bazaars

    Russian crooks are selling network credentials and virtual private network access for a "multitude" of US universities and colleges on criminal marketplaces, according to the FBI.

    According to a warning issued on Thursday, these stolen credentials sell for thousands of dollars on both dark web and public internet forums, and could lead to subsequent cyberattacks against individual employees or the schools themselves.

    "The exposure of usernames and passwords can lead to brute force credential stuffing computer network attacks, whereby attackers attempt logins across various internet sites or exploit them for subsequent cyber attacks as criminal actors take advantage of users recycling the same credentials across multiple accounts, internet sites, and services," the Feds' alert [PDF] said.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022