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NZ ISP's Could Sue Spammers

17 March 2004

Press information

NZ ISP's Could Sue Spammers

Auckland ISP Quicksilver today responded to news that US based ISPs are launching lawsuits against prolific email spammers. MD Matthew Hobbs predicts New Zealand ISPs could follow suit.

Four of the biggest US email providers - Microsoft, America Online, Earthlink and Yahoo - have announced they are filing lawsuits against six of the most prolific spam operations.

Mr Hobbs explains the implications for the New Zealand market: "A significant amount of spam in New Zealand originates in the United States. If this lawsuit is successful, NZ ISP's - along with ISPs from around the world - could also be filing suits against US spammers. NZ ISP's invest heavily in anti spam measures on behalf of their customers."

Similarly, be believes NZ spammers - who would probably be using a mail server somewhere else in the world - will be watching developments closely. "There aren't many spammers based here, but those that are will be watching with interest."

He says it will be interesting to see whether the US suits make an issue of where and when the 'crime' is committed or originated, as opposed to where the harm is 'caused'. In other words, is it when the email is sent or received?

"The situation will probably be more straightforward when US citizens spam US citizens using US based hardware. However, the situation will be more complex if a spammer living in the UK uses a mail server in Russia to spam people in the US for example. Issues such as jurisdiction will have to be decided before any action can be taken."

Each week, Quicksilver handles more than half a million emails directed at its customers of which 40% is spam. Customers using Quicksilver's virtual mail server Q-Biz (www.q-biz.co.nz/benefits.html) are automatically protected from spam and viruses, which are removed before they reach a customer's inbox.

ends

Notes to editors:

. Quicksilver is an Internet Service Provider offering fast, friendly and affordable telecommunication services to businesses and homes across New Zealand, ranging from dialup internet, to tolls and Jetstream ADSL.

. Founded in 1999 by Matthew Hobbs and Mark Frater, Quicksilver ranked in the top 10 on Deloitte's 2003 list of New Zealand's fastest growing companies.

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