Dutch Spammer Bevelander fined 25.000 US Dollar

By EDRi · April 7, 2004

The Dutch spammer Martijn Bevelander has to pay 25.000 US Dollar to the US Federal Trade Commission, for unfair and deceptive acts of commerce. Bevelander and his company Maps Holding BV were accused by the FTC for misrepresenting the subject line, ‘spoofing’ (faking) the sender) and creating untrue opt-out possibilities in large amounts of unsolicited commercial mail. Both Bevelander and his US business partner Brian Westby have agreed to settle out of court. Westby pays 87.500 US dollar to the FTC.

According to the complaint, Westby sent large amounts of adult e-mails with misleading subject lines, like ‘Did you hear the news?’ en ‘New movie info’.

For a period of three years, they both have to notify the Commission of any change in their private address and telephone number, any change in their employment status, and make all their current and future personnel sign a statement that they have read the FTC-order.

The FTC can bring enforcement actions against any deceptive acts of commerce, including false or misleading headers and subject headings. The US claims jurisdiction over foreigners in these cases because the spam was addressed to US citizens. The US Can-Spam Act, entered into force on 1 January 2004, does not ban spam. It only creates the right to opt-out from future mailings.

Meanwhile in the EU, the Commission has issued a second warning to 8 member states for not implementing the span-ban in time. Belgium, Germany, Greece, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal and Finland have not yet transposed the Directive on Privacy and Electronic Communications (2002/58/EC). They now have two months to respond or face action before the European Court of Justice.

Stipulated final judgement and order for permanent injunction (04.03.2004) http://www.bof.nl/docs/westbyfinalorder.pdf

FTC Complaint (16.09.2003) http://www.ftc.gov/os/2003/09/marriedcomp.pdf

Commission warns 8 countries to implement spam-ban (01.04.2004) http://europa.eu.int/rapid/start/cgi/guesten.ksh?p_action.gettxt=gt&doc=IP/04/435|0|RAPID&lg=EN&display=