RealTime IT News

Spaniards Alarmed by E-Mail Abuse

Internet entrepreneurs and activists have long fought to make e-commerce safer for Spanish consumers, but now the alarm sounds for two more scourges of the online world: spam and e-mail fraud.

The Spanish Internet Users Association (AUI) has expressed concern for "an increasingly worrisome matter: e-mail abuse."

Likewise CTV-JET, a major Spanish ISP, has reported the online theft of more than 4,000 user passwords.

Taking on spam as an invasion of Spanish electronic privacy, the AUI is launching an attack to put spammers on the wrong side of the law.

"We're going to educate all sectors and present proposals so that, at least in Spain, [spam receives] the same legal treatment given to the massive distribution of commercial faxes," stated Miguel Perez Subias, AUI president. "We've already held a meeting with the the Data Protection Agency and our next step will be to draft a proposal for parliamentary debate."

In another case of e-mail abuse, CTV-JET General Manager Miguel Ramo informed users last week that "information pirates managed to break past CTV's security system to steal a backup copy of the file containing the passwords of Infovia users."

Before becoming CTV-JET, CTV provided access to users nationwide through the now-defunct national Web onramp Infovia, a service of the erstwhile state telephone monopoly Telefonica. Reportedly only CTV users who once connected through Infovia were affected, and those accounts were immediately suspended.

"Upon analyzing the stolen file, we've confirmed that [the security breach] only affects 4,126 of a total 90,133 [clients]," stated Ramo. But according to a report this week by Noticias Intercom, "other reliable sources unrelated to CTV" claimed to possess lists of passwords belonging to clients of both CTV and RedesTB (owned by the independent Retevision telephone company) as early as February.

"If this is true, we'd have before us a much more serious case," stated the report. "The confidential data of thousands of Spanish users could have been 'out in the open' for several months."