Unwanted text messages from a Florida-based travel company were sent recently to 98,000 Verizon Wireless customers, according to a new lawsuit filed by the operator.
The Verizon Wireless litigation highlights an unfortunate circumstance for the 200 million U.S. cell phone subscribers. Spam on cell phones is becoming a fact of life in the U.S., despite aggressive defensive tactics by operators.
Even though cell phone spam is still relatively limited, its nonetheless particularly heinous and forcing operators to get a handle on it sooner, rather than later. Thats because their subscribers often pay a few pennies for each incoming message. Spam to a PC using a wired Internet connection doesnt create this particular financial side effect.
"Electronic attacks upon the Verizon Wireless interstate text messaging network will continue; indeed the latest attack was just weeks ago," Verizon attorneys wrote in the suit filed Monday in a U.S. District Court in New Jersey.
In this particular case, Verizon Wireless alleges that Passport Holidays LLC, of Ormond Beach, Fla., sent unsolicited text messages to about 98,000 Verizon Wireless subscribers in the latter part of October. The lawsuit accuses Passport Holidays of using an automated dialer to send the text messages to phones in three East Coast area codes.
Those actions violates several federal and New Jersey laws, the suit contends.
A person answering the phone Wednesday at Paradise Holidays offices said he was unaware of the suit, and had no other comment.
This is the sixth time in about a year in which Verizons sued a company for allegedly invading subscribers privacy while conducting a marketing campaign. Judges have sided with Verizon in a number of those cases.
In addition to seeking legal protection, most operators develop, or purchases from other companies, technology to detect spam. Attacks like the one alleged in the recent lawsuit also trigger counter-measures, according to the lawsuit.
"Were sending a message to these kinds of outfits that they better sleep with one eye open if they invade our customers privacy," said Verizon Wireless spokesman Tom Pica.