Wireless Spammer Target Of Legal Action By Verizon Wireless
BASKING RIDGE, NJ — Verizon Wireless, owner and operator of the nation’s most reliable wireless network, said today that in its ongoing efforts to protect customer privacy, the company has filed a lawsuit against Nevada-based I-VEST Global Corporation and various “John Does” alleging they sent unsolicited commercial electronic messages – or wireless spam – to Verizon Wireless customers.
The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Trenton, N.J., alleges that beginning in April 2007, I-VEST attempted to send more than 12 million text messages to handsets belonging to Verizon Wireless subscribers, offering information about buying stocks or real estate. However, spam filtering and network monitoring actions taken by Verizon Wireless prevented the vast majority of the messages from getting through to subscribers’ handsets and resulted in fewer than 5,000 messages being delivered.
Steven E. Zipperstein, vice president and general counsel of Verizon Wireless, said, “While in this case, we were able to block most of the messages from reaching our customers’ handsets, even one unwanted text message is one too many. Verizon Wireless is committed to using our legal and technical resources to the fullest extent on behalf of our customers to uncover and stop the companies and individuals that engage in wireless spam.”
Text messaging represents an increasingly important tool used by wireless customers to stay in touch with colleagues, friends and family, as well as by public safety and emergency medical services personnel across the country. Verizon Wireless processes millions of text messages each day, and its subscribers exchanged 22.3 billion text messages in the first quarter of 2007, 4.6 billion more than the previous quarter. Wireless spam impairs the delivery of legitimate messages, and because spam is often sent in high volume over short periods of time, it can place a strain on the overall performance of the wireless network.
The lawsuit alleges violations of the Federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act as well as state fraud and privacy laws. Verizon Wireless is asking for a permanent injunction and monetary damages.
The company’s record of protecting customer privacy puts Verizon Wireless at the forefront of the U.S. wireless industry. Over the past several years, Verizon Wireless has won permanent injunctions against individuals and companies that have engaged in illegal telemarketing and text message spamming to Verizon Wireless customers, and against those who have attempted to obtain information about Verizon Wireless customers to sell to third parties.
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