A company reported to an ISP for sending bulk spam is replying in kind by suing the individual who made the allegation.

The sued party, Jay Stuler, reported New Hampshire-based Atriks Inc, to his ISP after receiving unsolicited bulk email over a period from April 2003 onwards. According to court papers, Atriks then lost its account with its ISPs, Lightship Telecom, Spectra Access and North Atlantic Internet, resulting in the legal action against him.

The writ issued by the company denies the allegations, stating that it was not in breach of US anti-spam CAN-SPAM act, and that the complaint had caused lost business due to the ending of the ISP contracts. In its legal submission, Atriks claims: "Atriks does not originate or send commercial e-mail to third parties, and does not otherwise conduct activities regulated by the CAN-SPAM Act."

There is nothing about the company’s slick website that would give clues as to why it would send bulk spam. We quote the following passage at length.

"[We] have been working in computer information systems (CIS) since 1969 and with Internet technologies since 1992. With more than 330 servers in our data center and a relational database of over one billion individual records, we currently manage the business and consumer data needs of many Fortune 1000 companies across the U.S., as well as the comprehensive data requirements of the U.S. homeland security effort," it reports.

However, independent anti-spam group Spamhaus lists numerous abuses the company has been accused of including using techniques to get round ISP-level spam filtering, installing software on people’s PCs without permission, and sending emails with misleading subject lines. "Get 100 to 500 dollars fast", "about your Internet connection problems", "someone wants to date you", and "your cash has arrived" are a few of the examples it claims to have encountered.

The entry on Atriks can be found on the Spamhaus Register Of Known Spam Operations (ROKSO).

Spamhaus further states that Atriks could be in breach of US law. "The VirtualMDA system appears to violate the recent CAN-SPAM law by falsifying the transmission path, i.e. there is no trace of the original Atriks/Sendmails server (where the e-mail originates) showing in the headers, only the IP address of the victim running their software."

Stuler has declined to comment on the case on the advice of his attorney, but makes clear his feeling on the case on a webpage he has set up to cover its proceedings. "I believe this is a frivolous lawsuit designed to harass and intimidate. If I can be sued simply for complaining about spammers, then anyone can be."

Visitors are encouraged to Contribute to his legal defence fund by way of a PayPal account.