Spammers, the curse of ecommerce, are the focus of a major operation by US law enforcers.

Dawn raids, usually associated with illegal drugs or violent crime, have rudely woken suspects across the nation as FBI agents and others seize computers in a bid to rid internet business of this expensive nuisance.

It is believed by experts that just two hundred spammers are responsible for 90% of all rogue emails, which cost global business an estimated $20 billion (€15bn, £10.6bn) in 2004.

Endless legislation holds few terrors for these cybercriminals, so a more direct approach is being taken.

Says Julian Haight, of rough, tough anti-spam organisation SpamCop: "It really comes down to enforcement of the law. It doesn't eliminate the problem but gets the attention of the bad guys."

While Dan Larkin, head of the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center reassures the law-abiding online community: "Law enforcement understands the significant economic impact of spam."

Meantime, in the EU and elsewhere on the planet, unenforced laws and pious platitudes remain substitutes for muscular policing.

Data sourced from USA Today Online; additional content by WARC staff