On Friday, authorities announced that San Francisco-based Jumpstart Technologies, a firm accused of offering free tickets to movies in exchange for e-mail addresses, has agreed to pay $900,000 to settle a lawsuit filed against it for alleged antispam regulation violations, the Associated Press reports via MSNBC.com.
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) charged Jumpstart with violations of the 2003 CAN-SPAM (Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing) Act by deceptively cloaking commercial e-mail to appear as personal messages and misleading people regarding its FreeFlixTix program, the AP reports.
“This was a pretty cut-and-dry case of deception,” Lisa Rosenthal, an FTC staff attorney, told the AP. “The law enables consumers to block commercial e-mails if they want to, and this was subverting consumers’ ability to do that because it looked like it was coming from friends.”
Jumpstart allegedly offered free movie tickets to people willing to provide at least five e-mail addresses of friends, and then sent numerous messages to those addresses disguised as personal messages so they wouldn’t be weeded out by a spam filter, the AP reports.
A number of people who responded to those e-mails were then asked to submit credit card data to a business partner, and some had to pay a fee to cancel the offer, according to the AP.
Filed in San Francisco federal court last Wednesday, March 22, the civil settlement says Jumpstart must avoid any additional anti-spam law violations, though it doesn’t contain an admission of guilt on Jumpstart’s behalf, according to the AP.
For related coverage, read NY Files Suit Against Co. in E-Mail Sale Case.
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