Microsoft suing Israeli spammer

Israel's most prolific mass emailer has found himself on the end of a legal attack from Microsoft, which claims it wants to put a halt to high-profile spammers

Microsoft has filed a lawsuit against an Israeli man suspected of sending spam.

The software giant alleges that Amir Gans, head of marketing company New Approach, has sent 10 million junk emails and is responsible for half of the spam sent from Israel.

"By filing this lawsuit, we want to deter individuals, especially high-profile spammers such as Mr Gans, and persuade them to discontinue their spam activities," said Horacio Gutierrez, associate general counsel for Microsoft in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, in a statement.

Mr Gans could not be immediately contacted for comment. He is reported to have spoken openly in the past about how his firm sends emails advertising products and services to thousands of people, claiming to respect requests to remove people from his mailing list. Microsoft's lawsuit claims New Approach sent unsoliticed advertising messages to Hotmail users.

Microsoft said it had filed complaints about 10 alleged spammers with European public authorities: "We have sent nearly 70 cease and desist letters to as many spammers, and our experience tells us that in Europe spammers do stop once they are sued or under the threat of being sued."

Earlier this month, ZDNet UK contacted Microsoft over allegations made by anti-spam campaigner Spamhaus that US-based telecoms company MCI was helping to distribute a spamming tool dubbed Send-Safe. The tool can only affect Windows machines, but so far Microsoft has sidestepped this issue.

"Microsoft is working with its customers, its partners, and across the industry to help protect email as an essential and valuable communications tool. Microsoft firmly believes that spam can be dramatically reduced by industry and government taking steps to prosecute spammers, by developing spam-blocking and filtering technologies, and by educating users on the steps they can take to reduce the delivery of junk email," said Microsoft, when asked for its position on Send-Safe.

A source said last week that Microsoft is keen to resolve the issue of Send-Safe.

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