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Virginia Spammers Go To Jail, And Pay For It 326

Posted by Zonk
from the giving-the-ham-both-barrels dept.
An anonymous reader writes "A Virginia appeals court has upheld the first felony conviction under a state anti-spam law. In the process, the court also suggested that spam recipients might be able to sue spammers for money damages. According to the court, taxing a person's servers with unwanted e-mails is a form of trespass, little different than intruding on their land or making unwanted use of their private property. Perhaps because of this decision, spammers will soon find themselves on the receiving end of a million dollar class action suit."
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Virginia Spammers Go To Jail, And Pay For It

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  • by Sting_TVT (959719) on Friday September 08, 2006 @08:47AM (#16065428) Journal
    God, how many years will the "You've got Mail" voice actor get?
    • Elwood Edwards is the voice actor. Why would he get time? He was annoying, but you asked for that service when you signed up with AOL. And don't tell me you never got excited when you heard those three magical words.
  • So if we have VOIP (Score:5, Interesting)

    by joshetc (955226) on Friday September 08, 2006 @08:49AM (#16065434)
    Does that mean we can sue telemarketers? The last couple of years I've found them to be far more annoying than spammers. Spam is more easily blocked and can be taken care of on my time. Telemarketers though, I have to choose between getting up during dinner / sleeping to answer the phone or dealing with the damn thing ringing every 5 minutes.

    I'm still glad to see some spammers in jail though. I hope they all rot in prison then in hell.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Silver Sloth (770927)
      Whilst I wholeheartedly agree with the sentiment, how many times do I have to tell people I don't do business that way, framing the law is significantly more complex. Here in the UK the TPS http://mpsonline.org.uk/tps/ [mpsonline.org.uk] should prevent the majority of telemarketers, and

      Under Government legislation introduced on 1st May 1999 and replaced on 11th December 2003 by the Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003, it is unlawful to make unsolicited direct marketing calls to individuals w

      • by plague3106 (71849)
        Except that the telemarketers found a way around it.

        I've been getting calls to my cell phone no less; they claim they got my # when I used a credit card at a gas station. They're calling to give me '$40 of free gas.' Now if they really wanted to send it to me, all they have to do is drop it in the mail. But for some reason they call and need me to give them my information. Oh no, they aren't trying to sell me something though..
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by tddoog (900095)
      Have you registered with the do not call registry? [donotcall.gov]

      Since registering I can't remember getting a single telemarketing call. I don't think it applies to politicians though, surprise.

      • Seriously. I registered when it first came out and we still get calls. My friends still get calls. It's not as much, but we still get calls.
        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by tddoog (900095)
          Man, that just makes me feel unpopular. Even telemarketers don't like me.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by bigdavesmith (928732)
        The problem with the do not call registry is that they are still allowed to call if it is a charitable or political call, I believe. At least, those are the ones I still get.

        I don't mind the political ones, because they make the elections way easier. I keep a list of every politician I get a call from, and don't vote for them.

        The charity ones are very annoying though. I get at least a call a week from some charity wanting to know if they can count on my donation. Donations start at just $25. Surely
    • Telemarketers though, I have to choose between getting up during dinner / sleeping to answer the phone or dealing with the damn thing ringing every 5 minutes.

      Another possibility is to leave your phone permanently connected to an answering machine. The message tells the caller to communicate with you by email.

      You can take it off the machine if you are expecting a specific call.

      I'd guess from your post that you would feel uncomfortable with this solution - you may feel that if someone wants to be able to

    • In the USA, if these telemarketers break the law, you can sue. That is the idea behind the law -- if you don't obey, there is a penalty.
    • by glesga_kiss (596639) on Friday September 08, 2006 @09:54AM (#16065838)

      ...just talk dirty to them. Ask them what they are wearing. If it's a girl, ask if she is wearing tights and whether she is menstrating just now. They won't be phoning you back ever again and it's not an obscene call as they dialed you. Everybody wins!!

      Another classic would be a three-way call, though I've never done this with an incoming sales call. Simply put them through to the customer service desk of one of their competitors. Sit back and laugh as they argue with each other.

      Other people suggested get an answerphone. That's just not practical for most people. If the volume of sales calls grows over the volume of personal ones then it might be worth it. But I don't want to spend the rest of my days listening to short "could you call me back?" messages from friends. If I'm going to be doing their tech support they might as well be paying for the call! ;-)

      • by AceCaseOR (594637)
        Why wouldn't an answering machine be practical (at least if you don't already have voice mail)? I, personally, would like to know if I got an important phone call when I'm out of the house, and have the convience of letting the machine get it when I'm indisposed.
    • by hackstraw (262471) *
      Spam is more easily blocked and can be taken care of on my time. Telemarketers though, I have to choose between getting up during dinner / sleeping to answer the phone or dealing with the damn thing ringing every 5 minutes.

      Maybe my area is different than yours, but the number of telemarketers went from too much, to almost zero after I got a new telephone number _AND_ when I got the number, I paid an extra $1.50 or so a month to have the number unlisted.

      About once every 3-5 months I get a charitable organiza
  • by creimer (824291) on Friday September 08, 2006 @08:50AM (#16065439) Homepage
    Would be to have the spammers make and eat spam (the meat) all day while the prison guards sing about the joys of spam.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by LoTechDave (999425)
      I would like to know the name of these clowns and address of the correctional facility they are at so I could post it for /.ers. My idea of a more suitable punishment includes receiving 30-40 postcards a day while in jail. On the postcards we could attempt to sell useful products like 'eyes for the back of your head", soap on a rope, removable tatoos of tits, and of course 'Prison Spam' which has grill marks that look like bars.
  • Trespassing (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 08, 2006 @08:53AM (#16065447)
    taxing a person's servers with unwanted e-mails is a form of trespass

    Does this mean if I receive spam from him, I'm legally allowed to shoot him?
    • by phalse phace (454635) on Friday September 08, 2006 @09:13AM (#16065543)
      Only in Texas
    • by ScentCone (795499) on Friday September 08, 2006 @10:08AM (#16065936)
      Does this mean if I receive spam from him, I'm legally allowed to shoot him?

      You just have to say the magic words. It's very important to use your best Edward G. Robinson tone, of course: "He was trespassing, see. Yeah. And I was fearing for my safety, see. And the safety of my loved ones, see. Yeah, see."

      It's important to be assertive about such statements. You can't sound hesitant, or imply any misgivings. That's why these are the two most useless words in the English language: "But, officer..."

      Oh, and don't shoot them in the back. And if you do, stand them back up, and shoot them again in the front. Those CSI guys can figure it out, but once they've heard your Edward G. Robinson, they'll let it go.

      Note: this is not good advice. Do not follow it, or taunt Happy Fun Ball, either.
  • by MBC1977 (978793) on Friday September 08, 2006 @08:53AM (#16065451) Journal
    This is great, because personally, I'm tired of advertisements I don't want (i.e Viagra, GetRichQuick,

    other assorted unwanted ads. Now if we could adapt this law to work on the physical mailbox, I

    would not have keep throwing away junk mail and other stupid stuff, like how many DISH Network offers

    does one really need, much less use.

    I realise it may they be trying to make a living, but not at the expense of my peace of mind.

    Regards,

    MBC1977,

    (US Marine, College Student, and Good Guy!)
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by tddoog (900095)
      Be careful what you wish for. Bulk mailing helps subsidize the current mail system. Without it, either prices would go up or there would be a reduction in service (mail delivery every other day). Remember the USPS is one of the few gov't organizations that supports itself without taxes. All of the bureaucracy and none of the pork.
      • I thought the post office broke away from the government and that's why prices keep increasing. Also isn't that why its http://www.usps.com/ [usps.com] instead of http://www.usps.gov [usps.gov]?
        • by Dun Malg (230075)

          I thought the post office broke away from the government and that's why prices keep increasing. Also isn't that why its http://www.usps.com/ [usps.com] instead of http://www.usps.gov [usps.gov]? [ Reply to This ]

          Well.....sort of. They are separated from the government in that they are not subsidized by federal tax money, being required to support themselves on what they bring in. But at the same time, they are a tentacle of the federal government and can't raise postal rates without Uncle Sugar's permission, and you will stil

      • by Khyber (864651)
        Bulk mailing helps subsidize the current mail system. Without it, either prices would go up or there would be a reduction in service

        Prices go up anyways. I remember when it was 27c to send a letter, now it's about to be 41c. This is in a 15-year timeframe, FYI. Prices are skyrocketing, with or without the bulk advertising distribution. And there's already a reductio in service. Mailpeople won't bother to drop your mail off if there's as much as a tiny marble in front of your mailbox, all they'll do is l
  • Disclaimer: I didn't RTFA

    So how will this work? Will it only apply if the spammer is in the US? I doubt I'd be able to sue someone from Korea...
  • but if I sued someone like that, I wouldn't want to sue for money. Since the crime is spam, I wanna sue for meat. Let me bring in a knife or sword for the verdit if I'm successful, I'll carry out the sentance for free... I think the digits will do nicely (and prevent more spam)
    • by morie (227571)
      Learn from your classics. Be sure to sue for some blood and other spilled bodily fluids as well...
  • Oh, come on! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tygerstripes (832644) on Friday September 08, 2006 @08:56AM (#16065461)
    a form of trespass, little different than intruding on their land or making unwanted use of their private property.
    Look, I'm all for spammers getting ass-raped by rhinos or whatever, but to suggest that emailing someone is equivalent to trespass??!? Just how out-of-touch and confused does the state have to get with technology before they're sat down in an electric chair in front of a monitor, with a sticky on its side saying "Learn"?

    This is a totally spurious comparison. Firstly it is the confluence of internet/SM protocols, not the spammer, that puts the email on your server - although in the vast majority of these cases, you can believe that the recipient doesn't own the server at all. In those cases, the analogy would be more like "little different than sending them lots of junkmail which, when they feel like it, they can go down to the local post office to collect and bin".

    For those who do own their mail servers - corporations, freelancers or other particularly tooled-up individuals - it's like dumping a shit-load of mail on their doorstep - again, through the postal service, which is an impartial, autonomous service that we deeply value!!

    This spam is in no way infringing the rights or security of its recipients. It is a minor inconvenience, as is any form of junk mail, and when requested to desist it is illegal, just as is unsolicited junkmail when you so request (at least, in the UK). As such, yes, it should be punished. Is it entirely necessary, however, to confuse and inflame the issue with such shitty, uninformed, unqualified comparisons? And this from a court? Shit, they're supposed to be more responsible with language than anyone else in the country - what the hell does this guy think he's doing??

    • Re:Oh, come on! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by tinkerghost (944862) on Friday September 08, 2006 @09:02AM (#16065490) Homepage
      Take a look at it again. The biggest filter on prosecutablity is that you have to forge the headers you can send out spam all day every day as long as you are honest about where it's coming from. If you lie about where it's coming from, it's fraud and prosecutable. Check the laws again, you can put no return address on an envelope and it's fine, but if you put somebody else's address on it it's mail fraud. This is no different.
      • by Eccles (932)
        Not to mention the people who use someone else's address in the reply-to field. I periodically get mailer-daemon messages because some asshat has decided that an e-mail address using my personal domain is perfect for his/her reply-to address.

        That being said, I would prefer large fines, internet restrictions, (maybe)house arrest, and a short prison spell (as a warning) as an alternative to spending the cost of a good college degree keeping him locked up for years.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by tinkerghost (944862)
          RICO actually sounds good. Using fraud (fraudulent addressing) to run a business should come under racketeering laws. Siezing all his property & assets as 'profits derived from a racket' should be a nice dis-incentive for spamming.
      • Re:Oh, come on! (Score:4, Insightful)

        by GreyPoopon (411036) <gpoopon @ g m a i l . com> on Friday September 08, 2006 @10:16AM (#16065975)
        The biggest filter on prosecutablity is that you have to forge the headers you can send out spam all day every day as long as you are honest about where it's coming from.


        Agreed. This is what REALLY makes me wonder how stupid the defense attorney thinks people are. From the article:

        "You purchase an e-mail address list, alter the transmission information in the header of your e-mail to avoid retaliation, and on Easter morning send out a three-word e-mail to thousands of people: 'Christ is risen!' You have committed a felony in Virginia," Wolf said.
        As a Christian, I find this appalling. It's a blatant attempt to appeal to religious sentiment, but it really backfires. First, if you are altering the information in the header to avoid retaliation, this means that you know up front you are sending your message to people who don't want to receive it. You certainly aren't going to win any converts that way. Second, you are sending the email at what ultimately boils down to shared expense with the recipient, so you are asking me to help pay for messages that I don't want to receive. Frankly, I'm insulted by his statement. Even as a Christian, I don't want to be receiving mass mailings from people I don't know, regardless of whether it is intended to be uplifting.


        Wolf goes on to say that this is will be a shadow over free speech. I really don't see how. I'm not free to go to a business and tack up notices and advertisements without permission. And since it was being deposited on the mail servers of an ISP, this is exactly what the defendant was doing.

    • by Fordiman (689627)
      "you can believe that the recipient doesn't own the server at all"

      Well, not exactly. The user leases a portion of the server for the purpose of recieving mail. The spammer, through his actions, has spam on your property. It's more like flinging baseballs at your mailbox several times a day.

      Still, after the bluefrog debacle, I'm all for blood. Jail's too nice for these spammers (though as you said, getting ass raped by large men named 'rhino' is a good first step).
    • by stubear (130454)
      Wrong. When I put up a no trespass sign I'm setting limits on who can come onto my property. I'm likely going to allow family and friends to ignore the sign but everyone else better stay off or they'll get an ass full of buckshot. If someone were to disguise themselves as my brother and come onto my property it would still be trespass, I don't care how much they look like him. E-mail works the same way. I'm willing to allow a certain amount of e-mail come onto my server as long as they properly identif
      • Fine, so they're being naughty and pretending they're someone else. They're still not "entering your property", are they? If someone who is committing mail fraud with incorrect return addresses keeps sending you mail, it's irritating. It is most definitely not fucking trespass, and an ass full of buckshot is a criminally disproportionate response. You could shoot the mailman, you could go to the originator's house and shoot them, but clearly both are entirely inappropriate when the law has sufficient measur
        • by plague3106 (71849)
          My issue is with the unbelievably inflammatory and ignorant statement made by the court regarding email and trespass. It certainly is not the same thing and, unlike trespass, there is no implicit threat to your safety - or, let's face it, to property. It's just damned annoying.

          First off, in my state, there doesn't have to be any threat to safety, implicit or otherwise. Its merely defined as going onto someone else's property without permission. You could be there to give away sugar and spice, it doesn't m
          • Did you even read what I said? The statement that shooting is an inappropriate response is based on the premise that this action is not trespass, but more like unsolicited junk-mail - which is not defined as trespass in US or any other law. To then take your bizarre assumption and reiterate the shooting principle upon which it is based is called "begging the question", and is a really stupid argumentative trap that commonly displays a lack of ability to even see an argument from all perspectives, let alone
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by finity (535067)
      I think this is just one of many examples of how the current set of US laws is unfit to deal with issues in cyberspace. Right now, we adopt laws to fit the crime, and come up with (often poor) analogies to make them fit. I'm glad some spammers got busted; spam is anoying and, truly, if someone throws out enough spam, it can act as a form of denial of service. At the same time, though, we need to come up with a new way to govern cyberspace. One where the penalties fit the crime, and one that can move muc
    • It boggles the mind how out of touch most political figures are with what could be considered basic modern technology. Flipping through the channels on TV a few days ago I caught a news program interviewing (IIRC) the mayor of Boston MA. I guess there was some poor schmuck who had the same name as him and a Blog with a url of his name. Apparently this guy was getting oodles of political hate mail from people who mistook him for the mayor.

      The Journalist was taking some pleasure in poking fun at the mayor'
    • Re:Oh, come on! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by AaronLawrence (600990) * on Friday September 08, 2006 @09:38AM (#16065687)
      Maybe trespass is a bad analog, BUT it can be much worse than a minor inconvenience. Companies have had to shut down email addresses (like sales@wherever) because they are overwhelmed with spam. Like 1000 or more spams per day. Having to close and redirect one of your major customer contact methods isn't minor inconvenience.

      Anyone with such an address that has to be listed for public contact suffers from spam, and they can't use aggressive filters because they can't afford to lose customer email.
    • by plague3106 (71849)
      but to suggest that emailing someone is equivalent to trespass??!? Just how out-of-touch and confused does the state have to get with technology before they're sat down in an electric chair in front of a monitor, with a sticky on its side saying "Learn"?

      Tresspass can be classfied as 'making unwanted use of their private property.' They are 'making use' of my computer when it downloads THEIR message, and their message is also unwanted. I think it fits nicely.
      • No, it doesn't - that's like saying junk-mailers are "making use" of your mailbox when the mailman does his thing. Again, not illegal, nor should it be. If the postal service has to check that the sender is legit with you every time someone sends a letter, the system becomes unworkable and breaks down - both from the service's perspective and from yours. How else would people legitimately contact those they have never met? The laws that govern unsolicited junkmail are enough - this court statement just mudd
    • by plague3106 (71849)
      Firstly it is the confluence of internet/SM protocols, not the spammer, that puts the email on your server

      Ugh. So the message he wanted to send 'magically' appeared, with no effort from him. Your argument is that its ok to send mail bombs via the USPS. After all, its not the Unibomber, is the 'network of mail carrying stations that delivered the message to his mailbox.'
      • No, that's not my argument at all. You're talking about something which can be compared to trojans and email worms, which is a different issue entirely - that is nothing like sending junk-mail. You're as guilty of muddying the waters as the court who made this spurious statement.

        THE LAW ALREADY COVERS THESE THINGS - if such crimes were subject to trespass law (or whatever), these laws about spamming, mail fraud in the mail etc WOULD NOT EXIST. There would be no need for them!

        The mail-bombing thing is an e

    • by Peyna (14792)
      but to suggest that emailing someone is equivalent to trespass

      Trespass to chattels [wikipedia.org] (personal property) is what they are probably referring to, which is different than trespassing on real property. Another way to think of it would be "interference with personal property." In other words, by spamming these servers, the spammers have deprived the owner of the full use of his property and therefore he should be compensated appropriately.

      Similar to the argument made by Intel in Intel v. Hamidi [findlaw.com]. Although, I th
    • Re:Oh, come on! (Score:5, Interesting)

      by argle2bargle (794789) on Friday September 08, 2006 @09:51AM (#16065812)
      "This spam is in no way infringing the rights or security of its recipients. It is a minor inconvenience, as is any form of junk mail"

      I couldn't disagree more. When you say it is little different from 'lots' of junkmail. Imagine if 6 18wheelers pulled up to your house and dumped TONS of junkmail on your doorstep, literally so much junkmail that you cannot open your front door. In fact, you have to hire an expensive service to remove the junkmail, as well as buying a larger house to accomodate the junkmail as it arrives. Oh and by the way, some of that junk mail contains anthrax, which if it gets missed by the service which you had to hire, will infect your family.

      It is definately trespass.

      My small companies email server has to block/process 247,000 spam emails in just the past two months, totalling 67 percent of all the email on the server. On some days the percent of spam reaches 90 percent. Even though it is blocked, this costs my bandwidth and my servers memory/cpu. It costs my company money.
      • Try that thing with the trucks. Just try it. Then see if the court will convict the perpetrator of trespass. IT WILL NOT HAPPEN. This is not covered by the laws pertaining to trespass! It's exactly what I said - an inconvenience - but on a much larger scale. The analogous situation you provide would probably fall under harassment. But the perpetrator would legally not have committed any crime involving accessing your property.

        Don't throw anthrax into the argument (or "thinking of the children" FFS) - that'

    • by dereference (875531) on Friday September 08, 2006 @10:01AM (#16065881)
      For those who do own their mail servers - corporations, freelancers or other particularly tooled-up individuals - it's like dumping a shit-load of mail on their doorstep - again, through the postal service, which is an impartial, autonomous service that we deeply value!!

      Joke? Troll? This is a terribly misguided analogy, as I shall demostrate by haiku:

      We pay for bandwidth
      consumed by inbound e-mail
      but don't pay postage

      Big difference. This is why junk faxes are illegal; they use toner, paper, and they tie up the phone line. There are actual real expenses involved with receiving spam. we need more bandwidth and bigger servers. And yes, in cases where end customers are involved, the expenses are passed on to them as well, even though it's not their servers or bandwidth.
    • Re:Oh, come on! (Score:5, Informative)

      by wayne (1579) <wayne@schlitt.net> on Friday September 08, 2006 @10:01AM (#16065885) Homepage Journal
      a form of trespass, little different than intruding on their land or making unwanted use of their private property.
      ... but to suggest that emailing someone is equivalent to trespass??!? Just how out-of-touch and confused does the state have to get with technology before they're sat down in an electric chair in front of a monitor, with a sticky on its side saying "Learn"?

      Yes, "making unwanted use of their property" is a form of trespassing, known as Trespass to chattels [wikipedia.org], which is a well defined legal concept that has been around for hundreds of years. "Chattel [wikipedia.org]" is the archaic legal term for personal property, in contrast with land or real estate.

      Having watched the talks given at the last several years of MIT Spam Conferences [spamconference.org], I can safely say that the people involved with drafting Virginia's anti-spam laws and prosecuting this particular spammer have a very good understanding of technology in general, and email in particular. They probably have a better understanding than than the average slashdot user. As horrible as it may be for some geeks to imagine, yes, there are a lot of lawyers that are very smart and can learn very technical stuff.

      Firstly it is the confluence of internet/SM protocols, not the spammer, that puts the email on your server - although in the vast majority of these cases, you can believe that the recipient doesn't own the server at all.

      You seem to have a very fuzzy concept of the internet and protocols. When someone puts a packet out on the net, they are, indeed, knowingly creating a process that will result in the packet ending up on the receiving computer's network port. It may not be the same exact electrons, but that is irrelevant. And, I assure you that AOL owns their servers and they are the ones that received the spam. Yes, customers of AOL rent the mailboxes from them, but AOL still has legal rights to the servers. This is no different than a hotel or apartment owner that rents out rooms/apartments. They still have legal rights to their property.

      Not everyone likes the idea of applying the age old concept of Trespass to Chattels to the internet, for example, the EFF sees problems with it [eff.org]. I agree with the EFF on most things, and have contributed money to them, but in the area of spam, they act too much like chicken-little. The Virginia anti-spam law was narrowly taylored and well thought out. It is a shame that it large parts of it have been overridden by the much worse federal CAN-SPAM act.

    • Look, I'm all for spammers getting ass-raped by rhinos or whatever, but to suggest that emailing someone is equivalent to trespass??!? J

      spamming steals people's time. if it takes one minute for reach recipient to delete a spam, then he only needs to have sent 4.7M spams to have wasted nine years of people's lives in deleting his crap.

      spamming also uses network and computer resources that *could* more usefully have been used (though, I'll admit, chances are it doesn't).

    • Re:Oh, come on! (Score:4, Insightful)

      by apendrag0n3 (1001273) on Friday September 08, 2006 @10:17AM (#16065982) Homepage

      Speaking as someone who runs mail servers for multiple domains (yes, I work for an ISP), let me just say that I, for one, think the comparison is apt and accurate. Maintaining a server environment where our paying customers are not inundated with the 80,000+ spam messages a day that we end up filtering out at our mail gateway takes MUCH time and money (both for personnel and equipment/software).

      You may see this individual as merely taking advantage of a situation - "the confluence of internet/SM protocols, not the spammer, that puts the email on your server" - but I certainly do not. That would be like saying that the bank robber is not guilty because it was Smith & Wesson that built the firearm, and the gun dealer that sold it to him (legally), and the cab driver that drove him to the bank (unknowingly) all allowed him to rob this bank, so therefore he is not guilty of it. That is a confluence of EVENTS that leads to the same end. Criminal trespass and robbery.

    • I pay for my bandwitdh - *I* choose what I get and don't get. Those who waste my bandwidth that I pay for, are using/STEALING my resources that they're not entitled to use, because they didn't pay for my line, or my install fee, nor do they pay for the bandwidth I use during the course of a day. Not only am I entitled to billing them for the use of *MY* resources, but I can have them jailed for stealing or wasting said resources, which costs me money. I've won this twice in small-claims court, and I'm sure
    • It costs my company several thousand dollars a year to deal with spam. As the IT Manager, I know.

      Both here and at home it takes bandwidth, time, and system resources to deal with. All without my permission. Since my time is my most valuable commodity, it's worse than trespass; it's theft of my life.
  • ...am I allowed to virtually shoot (i.e. DDoS) him? Just tell me, trigger fingers are ready and armed...
  • by antifoidulus (807088) on Friday September 08, 2006 @09:09AM (#16065524) Homepage Journal
    their upkeep. Keeping a prisoner isn't cheap either, and really, is prison the answer? Prisons are already overcrowded, not to mention a breeding ground for HIV. While I hate spammers, I don't think they deserved to be shived or deserve to contract some horrible disease(which puts a further burden on the already overburdened health care system) because they spammed.

    Garnishing their wages for the rest of their lives and a significant period of house arrest either without an internet connection or with a heavily monitored connection(with restrictions on the services they can use) are both cheaper and more humane without letting the spammer go off scott free.
    • I'm actually against prisons, period. They punish the victims as well as the criminals (through costly taxation), and never fit the crime (with the possible exception of kidnapping).

      A spammer should be made to pay for the resources and timet he has cost every victim. Have him send five bucks to every resident of Virginia and let him make an honest living after that.
    • Prison, as you point out, is seldom the appropriate answer. It is horrendously expensive and has a high recidivism rate. However it does satisfy the Laura Norder brigade and the very human desire to 'lock them up and throw away the key'. No politician ever won votes by proposing that prison sentences be replaced by more effective means of punishment, and, at the end of the day, that's what counts.
  • Jailing spammers (Score:3, Insightful)

    by massysett (910130) on Friday September 08, 2006 @09:15AM (#16065552) Homepage
    I really see no point in jailing spammers. Sure, I hate spam, but come on, is it worth spending tens of thousands of dollars a year of public money to house and feed a spammer? It would be better to impose monetary penalties, or to take measures to ensure the perpetrators won't spam again. Put them under court supervision.

    Jailing people is expensive, and it should be reserved for persons who are a danger to the safety of others. Jailing a spammer is a waste of money--those tens of thousands of dollars would be better spent on funding technological anti-spam measures.
    • Jailing a spammer is a waste of money--those tens of thousands of dollars would be better spent on funding technological anti-spam measures.

      Spam is as much a social problem as anything - it's the willingness of people to buy things from unknown sources, and the willingness of the greedy to make a fast buck, that causes the problem.

      Tech hasn't solved spam despite the massive amount of time and effort put in; it's a moving target. If anything, the advance of technology has also made it easier for authori

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by nocloo (82496)
      It's a good deterence for future spammers to know that they will end up in jail if they break the laws. There're hundreds millions of dollars spent already on spam fighting and the fight will continue until we find a solution to this problem.
      So you are telling that the recipient of the mass mail should bear the cost, while the spammers can do it with impunity and get away with it ? Or simply take the monetary damage as a cost of doing business.
      This is a great precedence and hopefully a few more spammers wil
  • How come telemarketers who really disturb your life in some way get jackshit yet spammers get all hell let loose on them? Maybe it's just me but does anyone else find spam is a non-issue when you have a good spam filter kept up to date and get to laugh at the odd one or two a week that do get through?

    Also what are these "damages" for exactly? Having to use 10 seconds of your time to delete an e-mail and use up a tiny bit of extra bandwidth?

    Sorry but this just doesn't make sense to me. Yes I hate spam, yes I
    • by Seanasy (21730)
      How come telemarketers who really disturb your life in some way get jackshit yet spammers get all hell let loose on them?

      I put my number on the national and state do-not-call registry. I haven't heard from even one telemarketer since. Even when I did get telemarketing calls, they were never for porn or drugs and were rarely phishing scams. SPAMers have no such inhibitions. The medium makes it far easier to deceive, cajole or harass. The vast majority of telemarleting these days are from legit businesses.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by apendrag0n3 (1001273)
      Alphonse,

      I couldn't agree with you more about the telemarketer end of the house. I worked for a telemarketing company for approx. 2 years and ran one of their teams. I taught the team about ethics and true marketing and knowing their "target audience". They were not allowed to call at dinner time (5 to 7 pm in whatever time zone they were dialing). I re-worded "prepared scripts" to be less deceptive and to make it easy for the call receiver to know that this was a marketing call. In the end, my marketi

  • Too long. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bo0ork (698470) on Friday September 08, 2006 @09:17AM (#16065562)
    Nine years in prison for spamming is too much. Heck, two years is too much as well. You can get off easier than that for killing people.
    • by 1u3hr (530656)
      Nine years in prison for spamming is too much

      He's still on bail. I'll be surprised if he ever sees the inside of a cell. And if he does, he'll probably be out in a year or two, rested and fit and start all over again.

      This guy made MILLIONS. If he'd been prosecuted for each act of fraud he committed he'd be in jail till the sun went cold.

      Prosecutors said Jaynes, whose Internet name was Gaven Stubberfield, was grossing about $750,000 a month by selling through spam items such as penny-stock pickers, an I

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by plague3106 (71849)
      Nine years in prison for spamming is too much. Heck, two years is too much as well. You can get off easier than that for killing people.

      For murdering, that's not true. If you're refering to manslaughter, there's a reason you don't go to jail as long; you didn't intentially kill the other person.
  • . . . All actions one can perform will land you in jail. Also, even those actions that you do not perform you will pay a fine or fee of some sort for.

    Really... I never knew it until I moved here!
  • Score one for the Commonwealth. And people say Commonwealth governments are fucked up.

    And I am glad to see Robert McDonnell (Republican) is doing the job I elected him for last november.

    When in jail, Jaynes should be required to help anti-spam software companies make better filters in exchange for a shorter setence.
  • Maybe the submitter, or editor, might have RTFA:

    Jaynes was sentenced last year to nine years in prison on three counts of violating the state's anti-spam law and was allowed to remain free on $1 million bond while his case was appealed.

    He's still on bail. Let me know if this fucker ever does go to jail. And even if he gets a judgment against him, you know he'll never pay a cent, like OJ.

    But don't let me stop anyone making "pound him in the ass federal prison" jokes.

    • Except his case WAS Appealed, and he lost. That's what this story is about. Now he's gotta either appeal again, if he can, or end up in the shitcan.
      • by 1u3hr (530656)
        Now he's gotta either appeal again, if he can, or end up in the shitcan.P? Right, and he is appealing. (He earned millions from spamming, he can afford to.) So no jail until thst's resolved.
  • Murderer: What you in for, boy?

    Spammer: Uh... I... I, uh... sent people spam emails... lots of 'em...

    Murderer: That make you feel tough, boy?

    Spammer: Oh no... no... not at all... got pretty rich though...

    Murderer: That so? Well, Daddy's gonna make you his pretty little rich boy... [resting arm on Spammer's shoulder and winking]

    Spammer: Guard!!!! Help!!!!!!!

  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) on Friday September 08, 2006 @10:36AM (#16066127) Journal
    Sometime in the near future you can see a listing like this on EBay:

    Judgement against spammers Sergey Popovich, Kiev, Georgia and Chi Xiangjung, Nanking, PRC. For 1,000,000,000 $. Awarded by Virginia Commonwealth Supreme Court. Buy-now price 5$. Opening bid 1 cent.

    Also you will get emails like this:

    Allow me to please introduce myself. I am Michael Dewy of Dewy, Chetham and Howe, attorneys at law, Richmond, VA. I have recently won a judgement for 1 billion dollars against two spammers in Taiwan. This is my proposal to you. Please advance me the money needed to finance an expedition collect the said sum from Taiwan and we can share the proceeds 25% to me and 75% to you.

  • by ClemensW (835172) on Friday September 08, 2006 @01:09PM (#16067374)
    Sorry, but no sympathy from me. For all of you who think that's too harsh: Have you ever calculated the damage done by spam?

    Spammers steal your time: Sure, it's just 10 seconds to read a mail, make a decision and press the delete key. But it's not just *your* time, any other recipient also wastes 10 seconds.
    So, if a spammer sends 10.000.000 mails per day and every recipients wastes 10 seconds, you get
    10.000.000 mails * 10 sec/mail ~ 3 years, 2 months of wasted time.
    In other words, every month this spammer wastes more than a full human lifetime. In my eyes, that's the same as if they would kill someone every month with their own hands.

    Spammers steal computers to send their spam: Most spam is sent by trojaned machines. A small botnet able to send the 10.000.000 mails/day would likely consist of ~10.000 machines. Assume 3 hours to clean a machine and prevent it from being re-infected. Assume 10$ per hour. Total cost:
    10.000 machines * 3h/machine * 10$/h = 300.000$

    Spammers steal bandwidth: Though many people believe that bandwidth is free (flat-rate), it really isn't. ISPs or anybody with more than a DSL line do have to pay per GB. Even flat rates are just hybrid costing, basically an amount $x for the DSL line plus $y/GB multiplied by an average usage of z GB/month.
    Now, for the spammer:
    10.000.000 mails * 20 KByte/mail * 0.50 $/GB = 100$/day ~ 3.000$/month

    Spammers steal ressources from the recipients: 75% of all email is spam. Without spam, all mailservers could be sized significantly smaller. Assume 500$ savings for smaller hardware. Assume 3 years (36 months) lifetime. Assume 1.000.000 mail servers.
    1.000.000 server * 500$ savings/server / 36 months ~ 460.000 $/month

    And that's just the beginning. There are the costs of spam-filtering software, costs of maintenance for hard- and software, costs of lost business due to false-positive filtering (be it manually or automatically), costs, costs, costs....
    And let't not forget the costs of psychiatric treatment for admins suffering from burn-out syndrome due to constant nagging of their PHBs that they either a) receive too much spam or b) didn't receive an important email :-P

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