I recently read this entry over at ZDNet (Slashdot story here). Now call me naive (or stupid, whatever), but I think this is definitely a good thing.

For those of you that don’t care to read either of the articles, Microsoft has filed 215 separate lawsuits against people who have both spammed (96 suits) and attempted to phish information (119 suits) from users of their free Hotmail email service.

For too long have we sat idly by and watched our mailboxes slowly fill up with more and more unrequested, useless crap. Too long have we simply been resigned to be reactive to the problem of SPAM. For once, I’m quite happy to see Microsoft take the front and do a little proactive defense. Of all the people and companies in the world today, Microsoft is probably the only one that has both the public eye and the private funds to manage a campaign against the scum of the internet.

I was particularly impressed by the fact that Microsoft was actually contacted by the Texas Attorney General’s office with a list of domain names owned by a particular spammer, in an attempt to see whether they had in fact been heavily spammed by him. Apparently, Microsoft runs about 100,000 separate email accounts on their free Hotmail service that are easily guessable by spammers and which simply sit and collect data about those that are spamming them. With this information, both Microsoft and the state of Texas were able to start a firm case against the 22-year-old advertising major listed as the fourth largest spammer in the world.

Granted, I don’t think that lawsuits are a quick fix, nor a one-stop solution to the problem, but I think this is going to provide the publicity and probably the foundation for a larger anti-SPAM campaign that will, very eventually, help to stop the growing problem of SPAM entirely.

This does, however, bring up an interesting question. Where do we draw the line with legal action? Microsoft suing spammers is ok, but the MPAA suing file swappers isn’t… This is an interesting question, and one that I don’t really have an answer to. It’s probably more than a little hypocritical for us to think that one set of legal action is alright, when it meets our needs, but when it interferes with us getting our music, it’s a very bad thing. Unfortunately, this is very true, and an argument that I can’t easily defend against. I may have to simply resign myself to being a hypocritical fool and accept the scorn that comes right along with that…

Originally published and updated .
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