An employee of America Online was arrested this week for stealing AOL user screen names and selling them to an unsolicited commercial e-mail operation, AOL says in a statement.
AOL says it discovered the screen name thefts and passed the information on to federal law enforcement agencies, leading to the arrest. AOL has fired the employee, it says in the statement, and is committed to his full prosecution.
No member credit card or password information was compromised, AOL says.
U.S. media reports say that the number of screen names stolen totaled 92 million, and that the e-mail spammer had also been arrested. The AOL employee received over $100,000 for the list of names, media reports say.
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The pair face up to five years in jail and heavy fines if convicted under the U.S.’s CAN-SPAM Act, which came into effect at the beginning of 2004.In the statement, AOL says it is reviewing and strengthening its internal procedures as a result of this investigation and arrest.
The incident comes the day after AOL, along with Yahoo, Microsoft, and EarthLink, forming the Anti-Spam Technical Alliance, released a set of recommendations for eliminating spam