The owner of an Iowa-based ISP has been awarded $11.2bn in a judgment against a Florida spammer after he received millions of unsolicited emails advertising mortgage and debt consolidation services.
The ruling was the result of a lawsuit filed in 2003 by CIS Internet Services owner Robert Kramer III against James McCalla of Florida, who is now also barred from accessing the internet for three years.
The lawsuit claimed that McCalla sent more than 280 million illegal spam emails into CIS' network, which provides internet connections in eastern Iowa and parts of Illinois.
The lawsuit said that McCalla and other defendants used the cis.net domain in the emails as part of a false return address to disguise their source and deflect complaints to CIS.
Kramer claimed that under state law he is entitled to $10 per illegal email, and that he expects to see the money.
According to the Coalition Against Unsolicited Commercial Email, large numbers of junk emails have knocked out or disrupted internet provider systems belonging to large and small ISPs in the US.
Struan Robertson, editor of Pinsent Masons' Out-law website, said: " This could not happen in the UK because we do not have this multiplier that allows for each email spam to be charged for.
"The only example we have is the recent case of Nigel Roberts who used the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations to gain compensation for receiving spam. In fact his case settled out of court for £300. Others could do the same but it is hardly worth the hassle.
"The other problem is that most spam emanates outside the UK and you cannot take action against the sender in such cases."
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