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Qwest clarifies $5 spam fine

Broadband customers of Qwest Communications, who complained on blogs and message boards this week about the company's spam policy, have been vindicated... sort of

Many Qwest customers were alarmed when they discovered a provision in their DSL user agreements that suggested they could be charged $5 a pop for spam messages that are "transmitted from or otherwise connected with" their accounts. The wording of the provision caused some customers to worry that simply receiving spam could land them in hot water. And they feared that if their machines were taken over by zombies launching spam attacks that they could be held liable for outrageous fines.

The carrier has gotten a lot of bad press surrounding the issue, especially on sites like Broadband Reports. The Web site Email Battles reported Friday that Qwest had removed the $5 spam fine from its user agreement entirely. But later in the day it corrected that statement and said Qwest had simply changed its server limitations.

According to Qwest, spam violators using its network will still have to pay $5 a piece for their spam. But the carrier did clarify its user agreement.

In a statement sent to CNET Qwest reassures customers that it will not target legitimate email users.

"Contrary to what some have suggested, it is not and has never been Qwest's intent to impede in any way our customers' legitimate use of the Internet or of the access facilities Qwest provides," the company said in a statement. "Rather, Qwest's policies are designed to protect our customers from unwanted and malicious communications, and to protect our network assets from abuse through misconduct."