Tokyo-based Internet service provider Typhoon has filed a lawsuit against Paging America, alleging the pager company flooded its servers and placed a false Typhoon return address on unsolicited junk email.
The suit alleges that Paging America's unauthorized access to Typhoon's email server violates the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, as well as California and federal laws.
According to the complaint, the defendants engaged in a massive email campaign in March and May of this year. During this campaign, targeted at users of America Online, Paging America allegedly gained unlawful access to Typhoon's email gateway and included Typhoon's name as a return address.
"Just because an email gateway is set up on the Internet does not mean you can use it to drop 10,000 emails into AOL," said Andrew Mansfield, counsel for Typhoon.
Mansfield contends that Paging America's acts can be boiled down to theft of property. In California, he said, "you can't go sell goods under someone else's name, and the exact same rules should be applied to the Internet."
Typhoon is seeking injunctive relief as well as consequential and punitive damages. "We are alleging that there were delays to the service, time, and costs," Mansfield said. "After the last incident, Typhoon was forced to install filtering software."
Calls to Paging America executives were not returned. An employee who identified himself as Paging America's operations manager denied any knowledge of the suit.