RealTime IT News

Court Slaps Wireless Spammer

A federal judge has ordered a permanent injunction against a Rhode Island man after he allegedly sent millions of unsolicited short text messages to Verizon Wireless customers.

Jacob Brown was accused of transmitting ads for mortgage leads, adult content, software and herbal supplements. Between March and July, he allegedly sent approximately 4.5 million messages were sent -- 1 million of which eluded the carrier's filters, Verizon said.

According to the suit, Brown was assisted by "numerous but unidentified defendants." The company's original petition includes 50 John Doe defendants.

In addition to annoying customers, the defendants allegedly spoofed the Internet Protocol addresses of innocent people in order to distribute the messages. Verizon Wireless said spam for adult Web sites reached customers who are under 18.

Verizon Wireless said the deluge of messages strained its computers, switching and transmission facilities. It had unsuccessfully asked the judge for more than $150,000 in damages.

Efforts to reach Brown were unsuccessful.

The permanent injunction comes a little more than a month after a temporary block was granted. Brown failed to file an opposition to the application for injunction or any other form of appeal, according to the order from Judge Mary L. Cooper of the U.S. District Court of New Jersey.

The permanent order forbids Brown from sending spam to any customers of Verizon Wireless. It does not grant Verizon Wireless any monetary damages. The company said it hoped the court order would deter others from spamming wireless customers.

Last year, Verizon Wireless filed two suits against wireless spammers in federal court in Georgia. The defendants were allegedly sending repeated, unsolicited, text messages to Verizon Wireless customers. The carrier succeeded in stopping those spam attacks.

A spokeswoman for the carrier, which is a joint venture between Verizon Communications and Vodafone said it has no other wireless spam suits pending.