Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox said Thursday he is charging two companies with breaking a new law against sending unsolicited e-mails about inappropriate topics to children listed on a state registry.
The spam sent by RR Media Inc. of Cathedral City, Calif., and Data Stream Group Inc. of Bonita Springs, Fla., sought to entice children into gambling sites and promoted alcoholic beverages, Cox said.
Messages seeking comment from both companies were not immediately returned.
Cox filed criminal and civil charges against the companies, saying they violated a state law that requires them to check e-mail addresses against a registry designed to protect children from inappropriate e-mails. The Michigan Children's Protection Registry allows parents to list their children's electronic addresses with the state, and companies are supposed to check the list so they don't send children solicitations for products they aren't legally allowed to buy.
The companies could be fined up to $10,000 in the cases, which are the first of their kind under the registry set up last year, Cox said.
"Spamming is a huge problem with no easy solution," Cox said in a news release. "The registry law is an attempt by our state to find an effective way to protect children from the most offensive variety of spam."