Database spam thief charged

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A man faces 55 years in jail for stealing database to sell on to spammers.

A US man has been charged with stealing the membership database held at the American College of Physicians (ACP) in Philadelphia, USA.

William Bailey, Jr, of North Carolina, faces up to 55 years in jail and US$2,750,000 in fines if found guilty of illegally accessing the database and downloading contact details of 80,000 members.

46-year-old Bailey runs a website called dr-411.com which sells professional organisation member databases including addresses and email addresses for doctors, dentists, lawyers and estate agents.

Bailey's website, which is currently not active, contained adverts for email databases, one of which read: 'Physician Email Database 20,350 emails for US$399'.

It is alleged that Bailey ignored the following warning message on the ACP's web site in order to access the member database:

'"Member Connection" or any of its data or listings may not be downloaded, republished, resold or duplicated, in whole or in part, for commercial or any other purposes, or for purposes of compiling mailing lists or any other lists of physicians.'

United States Attorney General Pat Meehan says the ACP contacted the computer crime squad at the FBI immediately.

Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos, says spammers are one part of a complex illegal network.

"Criminal spammers are supported by the unethical email list providers who have sprung up like mushrooms around them," he said. "Spammers need long lists of qualified email addresses to send their unwanted marketing messages to, and so are always on the lookout for unscrupulous agencies who may assist them."

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