Eliot Spitzer: High-tech felt his impact

Spammers, spyware companies, telecom execs were among attorney general-turned-governor's targets

  • Spammers also got Spitzer's attention. A New York man dubbed the "Buffalo Spammer" in 2004 was convicted of using EarthLink's network to send out hundreds of millions of unsolicited commercial e-mails and was sentenced to prison for his efforts.

    Also that year, columnist Mark Gibbs wrote about Spitzer's attempt to bring down another big time spammer. He wrote: "It was disappointing but predictable that New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer's case against spammer Scott Richter and his company OptInRealBig.com would end not with a bang but a whimper. The original goal of the suit was to fine Richter and company US$20 million in damages, but in the end the case was settled for US$40,000 in penalties and an additional US$10,000 for investigative costs. OptInRealBig.com also must provide the Attorney General's office with customer information and all advertisements it sends as well as promise to use proper identifying information when registering domain names.... Spitzer put a brave face on it: 'This settlement holds Richter and his company to a new standard of accountability in their delivery of e-mails . .'" Spitzer's office had teamed with Microsoft on that case.

  • In 2003, US Network World magazine's name came up in the middle of a Spitzer project. As sister publication Computerworld reported: "A New York judge has ordered Network Associates (NAI) to stop placing restrictions on what its customers can say about its products, in a case involving a Network World review of one of its products. The ruling, handed down Wednesday by Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Marilyn Shafer, enjoined Santa Clara-based NAI from 'distributing, advertising and selling its software" with language that prohibited customers from disclosing the result of any benchmark tests to any third party without the company's written approval, or publishing reviews of its products without NAI's consent.'"

  • As part of his investigations into the illegal practices of Wall Street firms, "Spitzer sued five corporate executives for repayment of funds garnered through profiteering in Initial Public Offerings and phony stock ratings," according to a 2002 Fiber Optics Weekly report. "The executives named in Spitzer's suit are: former Qwest Communications Chairman Philip F. Anschutz; former WorldCom CEO Bernard J. Ebbers; Metromedia Fiber Networks Chairman Stephen A. Garofalo, former McLeod USA CEO Clark E. McLeod and former Qwest CEO Joseph P. Nacchio."

  • In the early 2000s, Spitzer argued that the Americans with Disabilities Act requires commercial Web sites to be accessible, while investigating Priceline.com and Ramada.com. The companies agreed to pay fines totaling US$77,500 and implement a variety of upgrades to help the blind navigate their Web sites.

    IDG News Service contributed to this report

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