Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

Feds Accuse Firms in Porn E-Mail Scheme

Filed under
Legal

Federal regulators accused seven companies Wednesday of hiring others to send illegal e-mails with pornographic messages to tempt consumers to visit adult Internet sites.

The government said four of the firms already agreed to pay nearly $1.2 million to settle the charges, making it among the most aggressive government crackdowns on pornographic e-mail operations.

The Federal Trade Commission described the practice as "electronic flashing" and said at least some of the unwanted e-mails were sent to children. The threat of children unwittingly receiving smut in their inboxes helped drive the U.S. government to impose restrictions on sending commercial e-mails last year.

The FTC said the messages were not prominently marked "sexually explicit," did not include instructions for consumers to block future e-mails and did not include a postal address, all required under federal law.

Consumers complained about receiving the pornographic e-mails and forwarded copies of the troublesome messages to a special e-mail address set up by the FTC (spam(at)uce.gov), said Jonathan M. Kraden, an attorney with the agency's Bureau of Consumer Protection. "We received thousands of messages," Kraden said.

The FTC said the seven companies did not send e-mails directly to consumers but operated affiliate programs, paying others to send unwanted messages to drive Internet traffic to adult Web sites. The FTC said under the "Can Spam" law, defendants in such cases are liable because they paid others to send e-mails on their behalf.

The government said investigators from Microsoft Corp. helped track the companies. Microsoft, which operates its MSN online subscription service and offers free "Hotmail" e-mail accounts, analyzed the pornographic sites advertised in the unwanted e-mails to identify the companies responsible, the FTC said.

The FTC said it directed the Justice Department to file civil lawsuits against three of the companies: T.J. Web Productions LLC of Henderson, Nev.; Cyberheat Inc. of Tucson, Ariz.; and Impulse Media Group Inc. of Seattle. The lawsuits seek unspecified payment to the government for "every violation" of the federal anti-spam law.

The attorney for T.J. Web Productions, Lawrence G. Walters of Altamonte Springs, Fla., said the company was still negotiating with the Justice Department. Walters said there were "legitimate concerns and legal variables" over the government's claims. "If necessary, our client is prepared to litigate those issues," he said.

Executives with Cyberheat did not return telephone messages left by The Associated Press. An executive with Impulse Media Group, Seth Schermerhorn, declined to comment immediately.

The FTC said four of the companies agreed to settle cases against them. BangBros.com Inc. of Miami agreed to pay $650,000; MD Media of Bingham Farms, Mich., agreed to pay $238,743; APC Entertainment Inc. of Davie, Fla., will pay $220,000; and Pure Marketing Solutions LLC of Miami and Internet Matrix Technology of New Orleans will together pay $50,000, the FTC said.

The attorney for MD Media, Danny E. Adams of Kelley Drye in Washington, did not immediately respond to a phone call and e-mail request for comment. The phone numbers listed on Internet records for BangBros.com and Pure Marketing Solutions were disconnected, and the companies did not respond to e-mail requests for comment. Executives for APC Entertainment did not respond to a telephone message from the AP.

Associated Press

More in Tux Machines

Add-on board expands i.MX6 UL SBC

MYIR released an add-on board for its Linux-driven, i.MX6 UL-based MYS-6ULX SBC that adds a second LAN port, plus CAN, RS485, camera, audio, and RTC. In April, MYIR released a Linux-powered MYS-6ULX SBC, which was notable for being available in two different versions using NXP’s low power, Cortex-A7 i.MX6 UltraLite (UL) or the more affordable, and almost identical i.MX6 ULL SoC. Now, MYIR has released an “MYB-6ULX Expansion Board” designed to stack onto either model. The $21.20 accessory adds a second 10/100 Ethernet port to the MYS-6ULX, as well as new CAN, RS485, audio, micro-USB, RTC, and camera functions. Read more

Hardware: PocketBeagle, Purism Librem 5, Aaeon Embedded PCs

Finding the Mainframers of the Future Through Open Source Ecosystem Development

Speak the word “mainframe” to many millennial techies, and the first things that likely come to mind are in the form of grainy sepia photos of floor-to-ceiling, wall-to-wall computers with big spinning tapes. But that’s far from the reality of the modern mainframe. Imagine instead up to 240 10-core, 5.2ghz processors, 32TB of RAIM (redundant array of independent memory), hardware-based encryption, and fully hot-swappable hardware components. Those are the specs of the newly released IBM z14 – a single machine that could replace the computing resources of an average corporate data center with room to spare. Read more

Linux Foundation’s Open Source Networking Days and KDE's Randa

  • Introducing The Linux Foundation’s Open Source Networking Days
    One of my primary goals at The Linux Foundation is to foster innovation across the entire open source networking ecosystem. This involves coordinating across multiple open source projects and initiatives and identifying key areas for collaboration to create an open source networking stack. We are working across the entire ecosystem with industry-leading partners — from developers to service providers to vendors — to unify various open source components and create solutions that will accelerate network transformation. As part of this journey, I am pleased to introduce Open Source Networking Days (OSN Days), a series of free events that are hosted and organized by local user groups and The Linux Foundation members, with support from our projects, including DPDK, FD.io, ONAP, OpenDaylight, OPNFV, PNDA, and others.
  • Randa news, release update
    Last week, from wednesday to saturday I attended KDE’s annual Randa sprint organized by wonderful people. This was an occasion to work fulltime on Kdenlive.