RealTime IT News

Washington State ISP Sues Over Spam

An ISP in the state of Washington is suing a mortgage company that it has accused of flooding it with misleading junk e-mail in violation of a state law.

The $6 million lawsuit, filed in Skagit County Superior Court in Mount Vernon, is against CTX Mortgage, a subsidiary of Dallas-based Centex Corp., according to the Associated Press.

The law makes it illegal to send unsolicited commercial e-mail with misleading subject lines, phony return addresses and false headers. A $1,000 penalty can be assessed for each illegal e-mail sent through an Internet service provider.

Brady Johnson, Seattle attorney for Connect Northwest, the Mount Vernon-based company that filed the lawsuit, said CTX overwhelmed Connect Northwest's network by sending 5,800 unsolicited e-mail messages April 8 and 9 advertising home mortgages.

The subject line for the messages contained the phrase "a gift for you," and the e-mail's return address was phony, Johnson said.

The flood of messages disrupted Connect Northwest's mail servers and shut down service to customers for a time. In a statement, CTX said it was investigating the incident.

"What we have learned is that the e-mails in question represent an isolated incident involving an outside vendor," the company said.

"CTX takes the anti-spamming laws seriously and immediately stopped the activity pending investigation of this matter," the statement said.