Microsoft Ratchets Up Anti-Spam Campaign

Files 15 anti-spam lawsuits as part of its evolving initiative to combat unwanted Hotmail and MSN traffic.

Microsoft filed 15 lawsuits on Tuesday — 13 in the U.S. and two in the U.K. — as part of its expanding anti-spam initiative.

The Redmond software giant filed the suits following investigations across 34 countries involving companies and individuals who have sent two billion illegal spam messages to MSN and Hotmail users.

Twelve of the 15 suits were filed in King County superior court under a Washington state anti-spam statute that allows Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to target spammers who send unwanted communications to Washington-based consumers. Another suit was filed in federal court in Los Angeles.

The two civil suits filed in the U.K. focus on spammers who allegedly have attempted to harvest MSN and Hotmail subscriber names from Microsofts database. The U.S. cases focused primarily on the alleged use of deceptive practices, such as false subject lines, false sender Ids and/or spoofed identities. The California case also involved an alleged violation of the Microsoft trademark.

Microsoft is seeking both punitive and monetary damages of varying amounts in the cases, Smith said.