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AOL gets tough on spammers

Junk mail report feature in version 8.0 could land mass senders in court

AOL is getting tough on spammers thanks to new junk mail reporting features found in the next release of its software — AOL 8.0. Due out in the UK in May, the software has been available in the USA since last October.

The UK launch has been delayed from the slated Valentine's Day date as the company wanted to tie in the new software with a redesigned Welcome page and the unveiling of its music channel, the aptly named AOL Music.

AOL 8.0 includes a feature that allows users to report spam to AOL, which then alerts the originating ISP (internet service provider). If the ISP fails to act to stop the spammer at source, AOL says it may block all mail from that ISP until the problem is fixed.

This is just part of its strict stance on spammers, which saw if filing five lawsuits in the USA accusing individuals of sending junk mail to its users, according to The Wall Street Journal's online edition yesterday.

It said that the spammers have sent about 1bn spam messages, generating about eight million individual complaints from users via the "spam report" feature.

Two individuals were named by AOL: Michael Levesque and George Moore, both based in the USA, but the other defendants are named as "John Doe" because AOL hasn't yet been able to identify them.

The lawsuits seek damages of more than $10m (£6.4m), plus an end to the messages.


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