Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Federal indictment issued in spam scheme targeting colleges; so far, employees of spammers are not named, but it raises a question

A federal grand jury in the Show-Me state (Missouri) indicted four people on an email spamming scheme aimed at over 2000 colleges and universities across the U.S. The people allegedly had developed an e-mail extracting program to harvest over eight million student email addresses. The story is by Grant Gross from the IDG News Service, “Four Indicted in Giant College Spam Operation”, Pcworld link here.

Employees that the people hired were not named in the indictment. Nevertheless, the incident raises a question for freelancers and contractors, whether they could some day be held responsible for the illegal activities of their employers, particularly if they can reasonably suspect illegal behavior like spamming or criminal copyright infringement. I wonder if people have a perspective on this.

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