Spitzer Sues FreeiPods.com, Spinners of Spam Dreams

You already knew all those WinAFreeIpod.coms were scams. Now the People’s Champion, New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, knows and he’s suing one of the companies behind it, Gratis Internet.

The company operated sites like FreeiPods.com; FreeCDs.com; FreeDVDs.com and FreeVideoGames.com. Users typed in their contact info in hopes of getting something for nothing.

According to readers Mary O. and Adrian, Gratis actually DID give people iPods and Mac Minis and such. They also gave them chum buckets of spam.

Billions of dollars, after the jump…

Gratis has a privacy policy which claims, in several places, in several different ways that it “We will never give out, sell or lend your name or information to anyone.” However, Gratis did exactly that, selling the data to three different “email marketers” who sent millions of pieces of spam to the addresses. No doubt, these companies also then sold the lists to other marketers, who also emailed to the lists and sold them, and so on and so on.

According to the notice of verified petition, the prosecution is recommending a penalty of $500 (or such other amount the court deems appropriate) per user unlawfully sold.

Based on the amount of data they are conservatively projected to have sold to Datran, just one of the three companies they provided data to, if the court fined Gratis Internet the full $500 that would equal over 73 billion dollars.

The total amount Gratis is estimated to have earned selling the records is $413,117.

The press release believes the Gratis case “to be the largest deliberate breach of privacy in internet history.” Perhaps only in recorded history. There’s hundreds of companies like Gratis, Datran, JDR and Jumpstart, in various shades of off-black. Hopefully this lawsuit will send them a message.

Suit Accuses Website Operator of Massive Privacy Breach [OAG.NY via Digg]