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

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.”

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