Spammer ducks for cover as details published on web

, posted: 19-Aug-2003 21:52

A New Zealander who sent millions of junk emails out every day has shut his business after his personal details were posted on the web.

Shane Atkinson - whose business is known as spamming - said the barrage of abuse made him worry about the safety of his children.

His identity as the man behind millions of spam messages promoting penis enlargement pills was revealed in a Herald article last week. Mr Atkinson said that on a good day he and his associates would send out 100 million messages. He said that since the article was published, anti-spam activists had been "having a field day". He had received more than 20 phone calls, five of them obscene.

His personal information, street address and phone numbers were "plastered all over the web", he had been subscribed to a gay-dating site and his email address had been added to "tons of email lists".

"I have already banned my 5-year-old from answering the phone," he said.

The article also led to, the US web service that hosts Mr Atkinson's servers, being entered in the
Spam Early Warning System list, which many networks use for blocking email traffic. Rackshack gave notice that it would shut down two of Mr Atkinson's servers because of the listing, forcing him to move the servers to a different network.

Mr Atkinson has decided to get out of the spamming business, citing the "negative feedback" and saying that he "never intended to break any regulations". He has asked affiliates to stop doing the work for him. "I sort of feel good now about stopping this," he said.

"I'll just stick to search engines and web sites - that's still plenty of fun and money."

Internet group InternetNZ has said it will file formal complaints against Mr Atkinson with the Commerce Commission,  the Ministry of Health and the Privacy Commissioner.

New Zealand does not have specific anti-spam laws.

Other related posts:
Video: Kim Dotcom and Mathias Ortman at the IITP Mega breakfast
Two-factor authentication broken
The problem with naming and shaming

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