Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Washington state AG sues over company's text message spam

Are you as annoyed as many are by text message spam? Unless you have an unlimited messaging package you're paying for all the unwanted ads entering your SMS inbox. Washington state's Attorney General is on your side, filing a lawsuit against Orlando-based Dinav Holding and its owners over text message spam.

Washington state Attorney General Rob McKenna's office calls it as it -- and most of the public -- sees it: another form of spam that doesn't just annoy people; it costs them money.

Reported in Monday's Seattle Times, the lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in Seattle. It claims alleges Dinav Holding targeted residents in Washington with texts advertising payday loans with companies not licensed in the state, over a two-day period in May,

McKenna alleges the company violated the federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act as well as two Washington state consumer-protection laws, the Washington State Commercial Electronic Mail Act and the Washington State Consumer Protection Act.

Washington's law does not allow commercial text messaging, while the federal law bans the making of calls using an automated dialing system, according to officials.

The federal law and one of the state laws carry damages of $500 per violation if the company is found at fault, officials said. Assuming that each SMS counts as a violation, Dinav Holding could be facing a massive bill.

In a statement issued Monday, McKenna said:
Consumers pay for text messaging in order to stay in touch with family, friends and business contacts — not to receive spam that's as illegal as it is annoying. Today's lawsuit is a reminder to spammers that there are consequences for breaking the law.
Assistant Attorney General Paula Selis, who heads the Attorney General's High-tech Unit, added that:
Spammers, known for invading computers, now recognize that most of us now carry powerful computers -- mobile phones -- and they are determined to invade those as well.
The lawsuit targets Orlando-based Dinav Holding and its owners, Jonathan Charles Diaz and Juan Carlos Diaz. We anticipate that a service based on short-messages similar to text messages, Twitter, might soon be aflame with applause over the move.

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