Spam Comes From Florida?

I thought spam came from Taiwan, China and Korea these days. I was wrong.

AOL puts heat on alleged Sunshine State spammers: America Online reported on Wednesday that it has filed a civil suit against four Florida-based individuals who the company believes are responsible for sending massive amounts of spam e-mail to its members.

The giant Internet service provider said it brought the case in the U.S. District Court of Florida, Orlando Division, because the so-called “Sunshine State spammers” violated the Virginia Computer Crimes Act, the federal Computer Fraud & Abuse Act and Florida common law, by sending an avalanche of unsolicited e-mail to its subscribers. In the suit, AOL seeks damages of $1.6 million in addition to other forms of compensation, including potential asset forfeiture.

According to Dulles, Va.-based AOL, the Florida defendants teamed up with parties in Thailand to barrage AOL members with more than 35 million spam messages over the course of several years. The company said it first became aware of the group in January 2003 via a wave of 1.5 million user complaints and immediately launched an investigation into the spammer's operations. The scheme reportedly involved an onslaught of e-mail messages loaded with hypertext links advertising low mortgage rate offers for AOL members.

As part of its investigation, AOL said it was able to procure some 40 pages of text taken from instant-messaging conversations held between the defendants and their alleged Thailand partners. In those conversations, seized under a court order, the parties openly referred to AOL as a potential “goldmine” for spam and detailed their methods for evading the company's spam protection tools.

Florida is known as something of a hotbed for spam-related activity, with the Register of Known Spam Operations (ROKSO) identifying three of the world's top 10 known spammers as residing in the state, more than any other in the United States.

I guess at least it shows not everything is outsourced…

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