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The Internet United States

'Operation Cyber Sweep' Nets 125 Arrests 286

unassimilatible writes "Attorney General John Ashcroft said Thursday that law-enforcement agents had arrested 125 suspects in a crackdown on Internet crimes ranging from hacking and software piracy to credit card fraud and selling stolen goods over the Internet, according to Wired. The investigation, begun Oct. 1 and dubbed Operation Cyber Sweep, involved police from Ghana to Southern California and uncovered 125,000 victims who had lost more than $100 million. Seventy indictments to date have led to arrests or convictions of 125 people, with more expected as the probe continues. The cases range from a Virginia woman who sent fake e-mails to America Online customers asking them to update their credit card numbers to a disgruntled Philadelphia Phillies fan who hacked into computers nationwide and launched spam e-mails criticizing the baseball team. 'The information superhighway should be a conduit for communication, information and commerce, not an expressway for crime,' Ashcroft said."
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'Operation Cyber Sweep' Nets 125 Arrests

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  • Ah... (Score:5, Funny)

    by danielrm26 ( 567852 ) * on Thursday November 20, 2003 @10:37PM (#7525279) Homepage
    I guess this is why the guy in Indonesia that wanted to buy some hardware off me with a credit card suddenly stopped replying to my emails. Damn that Ashcroft; the guy wasn't even worried about price.
  • So... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 20, 2003 @10:37PM (#7525282)
    Did they catch the founders of PayPal?
  • Phew! (Score:5, Funny)

    by MisterFancypants ( 615129 ) on Thursday November 20, 2003 @10:39PM (#7525290)
    I feel much safer now!

    This Homeland Security thing is really working!

  • Authorities in Ghana and Nigeria also helped track down suspects and recover millions of dollars in ill-gotten gains.

    I guess so... You would think that people would be more aware of this kind of thing now.

  • by Powercntrl ( 458442 ) on Thursday November 20, 2003 @10:41PM (#7525301)
    I was under the impression they were the ones who policed the Internet.
  • Wow, 125! (Score:3, Informative)

    by MrPerfekt ( 414248 ) on Thursday November 20, 2003 @10:42PM (#7525310) Homepage Journal
    Only 2,254,364 to go for credit card fraud alone...

    When you add the extra 3 million for spamming and the extra... [population of the United States] for copyright infringement, you can see they're off to a good start!
  • As bad as he is... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kilka ( 694154 ) on Thursday November 20, 2003 @10:43PM (#7525314)
    I know he's one of the worst people in high places, but I think this is a good thing. He's not invading peoples privacy or instituting some terrible law, he's actually helping people.

    -Kilka
    • [Ashcroft]'s not invading peoples privacy or instituting some terrible law, he's actually helping people.

      And notice how surprising that is.
    • by El Cubano ( 631386 ) on Thursday November 20, 2003 @10:57PM (#7525379)

      I know he's one of the worst people in high places, but I think this is a good thing. He's not invading peoples privacy or instituting some terrible law, he's actually helping people.

      I agree. Even better: if they can publicly show that these people's rights were actually preserved, I would be very impressed.

      • Even better: if they can publicly show that these people's rights were actually preserved, I would be very impressed.
        Problem is, that's proving the negative, a difficult task, if not impossible. Also, given Ashcroft's record, you'll excuse me holding out a healthly, if large, amount of distrust toward any action of his. If these actions wind up being good, then so be it. In the meantime, I will expect the worst and hope for the best.
    • I know he's one of the worst people in high places, but I think this is a good thing. He's not invading peoples privacy or instituting some terrible law, he's actually helping people.

      You left out a word there. Here, I'll fix it for you:

      I know he's one of the worst people in high places, but I think this is a good thing.
      WHEN He's not invading peoples privacy or instituting some terrible law, he's actually helping people.
    • I would urge you to exercise independent judgement before concluding that he's "one of the worst people in high places." Such pronouncements come from George Bush's political opposition, who are hardly objective in their criticisms. To begin with, ask youself why terrorists are blowing up overseas targets and not any in the U.S. Do you think that's their first choice? No. Could it be because Bush/Ashcroft/Ridge have managed to cripple the U.S. operations of terrorists (while getting their ankles chewed on b
      • by TGK ( 262438 ) on Friday November 21, 2003 @12:31AM (#7525895) Homepage Journal
        Uhhhh.... this is an example of assuming causality. Because there have been very few terrorist attacks in the United States since Sept 11, 2001 the Bush administration must be doing a good job combating terrorism.

        This assumes a few things.

        1 - Legions of bloodthirsty terrorists wish nothing more than to see the United States reduced to a smoking abrasion in the earth's crust.

        2 - These people have decided that the best time to act on these urges would be right now, while the Bush Administration is hunting for them.

        3 - These terrorists are being found, tried, and convicted in secret military courts while the president's approval ratings sink ever lower as the US population grows more and more convinced that the world isn't nearly as dangerous as Mr Ashcroft would have us think.

        It also has, implicit in it, at least one conclusion that those that advance it probably won't like.

        1 - Three acts of terrorism have occurred in the United States since Pres. Bush took power. (9-11, Anthrax, Sniper). Thus Bush averages 1 attack per year (3 years in office, 3 attacks). Clinton, in comparison averages 1 every 4 years (World Trade Center Bombing and Oklahoma City). By the parent post's logic Clinton did a better job of protecting against terrorism.

        But let's not get into that particular quagmire. The real question is this. At what cost? Terrorism isn't the leading cause of death in this country. More people die from pretty much everything than die in terrorist attacks. Want to protect the US Citizenry? Sink that $87 Billion for Iraq into Cancer research.

        Ok... lets go with Cancer though. Apparently this country is unwilling to use the stem cells from a fetus that was aborted to try to cure cancer. I can accept a religious problem with that.

        So here's the (hypothetical) trade. A cure for cancer, today. The price: The government gets to tap your phone, confiscate property without due process, track your internet usage, spy on you without judicial oversight, conduct secret searches of your home, and check up on your library readings. Oh, they also get to use your car to spy on you and can detain you indefinitely in a military base with no hope of appeal or civilian trial. Is it worth it? Remember, we're talking about curing cancer here... one of the biggest killers of US citizens of any age.

        Gut feeling, if you're not willing to give up the rights of a bunch of dead tissue that someone didn't want to carry to birth to cure this disease you're probably not willing to give us a bunch of your own personal rights to do the same. So why is it that what Ashcroft is doing is so great? Why is it that for the POSSIBILITY of preventing terrorism we're willing to let this man and his minions trample upon our civil liberties?

        I don't have an easy answer for this question. I can tell you that people with the attitude expressed in the parent post are part of the problem, not the solution. Ben Franklin was right, "those who would trade freedom for security deserve neither."

        Cripple terrorism? Plunk pool chlorine tablets into a two liter of coke and twist on the cap and you've got a chemical munition. Nothing Ashcroft does can prevent a desperate individual willing to die for his cause. We're throwing our freedoms away for the tattered remnants of a dream.

        • Even though I really don't care about Ashcroft or his critics, this annoyed me enough to reply. You point out correctly that terrorism is a vanishingly small problem. Then you drag out the tired cliche of Ashcroft "trampling on our civil liberties." Any such trampling is also vanishingly small. Want to see serious trampling? The war on drugs. That has had vastly more impact on people's lives than the current terrorism panic.

          Nothing Ashcroft does can prevent a desperate individual willing to die for

          • Except imprisoning or deporting that individual before he can act. But I think your logic could be applied to all law enforcement efforts, ending in the conclusion that no laws should be enforced.

            And what are the chance for that to happen? You really expect that a foreigner's visa will just happen to run out few days before he will get pissed off by something US government does? That a box cutter sale will be interpreted as a part of preparation to a plane hijacking? That for some magical reason the same

      • Dude. Why do you even try? TGK responds [slashdot.org] with some idiotic diatribe suggesting "blood thirsty terrorists" don't want to kill Americans and that Pres. Clinton had a good track record defending America against terrorism (TGK conveniently forgets several terrorists acts that happened during Pres. Clinton's time in office - dishonest?). TGK's post then gets a +5, Insightful.

        Insightful! Wow. Slashdot is starting to get more and more like kuro5hin everyday. The libs are taking over another tech/geek websit
    • I know he's one of the worst people in high places, but I think this is a good thing. He's not invading peoples privacy or instituting some terrible law, he's actually helping people.
      John Wayne Gacy was a nice clown, too.

    • by zurab ( 188064 )

      I know he's one of the worst people in high places, but I think this is a good thing. He's not invading peoples privacy or instituting some terrible law, he's actually helping people.

      Nonsense. He is selectively enforcing the laws on behalf of the corporations that paid for those laws. I am still waiting for a day when they launch an investigation in SCO's practices and book them for criminal copyright infringement. When do you think that is going to happen?

      When regular people violate corporation's copyri

      • The validity of SCO's claims is still up in the air, and will be settled in court. Do you seriously expect the Justice Department to initiate a criminal prosecution based on an issue that is pending settlement in civil court? Can you think of any example where this happened? And just because SCO is constant front-page news here doesn't mean DOJ knows or cares about them.

        Can you find a single criminal attorney in the US, either prosecutor or defender, who believes there is a solid criminal case against S
        • Well, you are right that SCO vs. IBM is a contractual dispute; and there are some pieces of code that SCO is arguing IBM has improperly copied. However, that's not what I was referring to.

          SCO is also distributing the rest of Linux kernel and related software (that's not being in dispute) without following and honoring the GPL. Linux is copyrighted software, and SCO has zero rights to distribute it, unless they read and follow the GPL. If they cannot follow the GPL because they believe they have some claim
  • by Guano_Jim ( 157555 ) on Thursday November 20, 2003 @10:43PM (#7525318)
    I, for one, welcome our new Pentacostal overlords, and would like to remind them as a barely-known Slashdot personality, might be useful in rounding up others to work in their underground Bible camps.

  • Software Piracy (Score:5, Interesting)

    by LPetrazickis ( 557952 ) <leo...petr+slashdot@@@gmail...com> on Thursday November 20, 2003 @10:46PM (#7525332) Homepage Journal
    Are we talking about real software pirates (ones that actually sell their illgotten goods on the street and prevent legimate profits) or pimply-faced teenagers proud of having two hundred copies of Photoshop on their hard drive? IMHO, saying that actual money was lost in the latter case is absurd.
    • No, they were just downloading Linux distro's.

      //Pissed because his school threated to suspended his network access after he downloaded Mandrake 9.2.
      • Was this because of the bandwidth used, or did they actually acuse you of piracy?
        • I was sent a form email pointing out that I could face disciplinary action for downloading copyrighted material. I suspect this was triggered by the 500kBs+ I was getting via Bittorrent. Paticularly since I rarely use other p2p software.
          • I was sent a form email pointing out that I could face disciplinary action for downloading copyrighted material.

            Heh. Don't you do this every time you access a web page? I mean, all written material is copyrighted by default unless it's explicitly placed into the public domain.

            This reminds me of the story of the student who was facing disciplinary action for playing Nethack, because the adminstration thought that it had something to do with breaking into comptuers.

  • by Chairboy ( 88841 ) on Thursday November 20, 2003 @10:48PM (#7525337) Homepage
    Dear slashdot,

    I for one am outraged about (subject matter)! This is just another instance of (the government/corporation name) sticking it to those of us who still care about (music/freedom/software)!

    In conclusion, stop (subject matter) now!

    Regards,
    Chairboy

    PS, does (subject matter) (run on linux/support OGG Vorbis)? Because if it doesn't, I'm (not buying it/further upset)!
  • Finally !! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Tensor ( 102132 ) on Thursday November 20, 2003 @10:50PM (#7525352)
    I took them this long to shift from copyrights violators to actual, real theft.

    Kudos ! Its nice to see them focusing on "real" crime with "real" victims, with tangible losses for a change.
    • I took them this long to shift from copyrights violators to actual, real theft.

      Last time I checked, "shifting" wasn't allowed. I believe the term has changed to: "alted."
  • Subject category (Score:5, Insightful)

    by momerath2003 ( 606823 ) * on Thursday November 20, 2003 @10:54PM (#7525372) Journal
    I'm glad the editors didn't classify this story as "Your Rights Online" and turn it into another anti-Ashcroft-fest. To stay on topic, identity thieves and the like are the right people to go after. Maybe the salaries for the RIAA's lawyers should go to fighting crime like that.
    • Of course, attorney's general (whether federal or state) tend to choose to pursue those crimes that will make them look the best in the light of the public for political reasons. Therefore you will more often see them go after high profile things like this, (ooo, cyber-crime, people will think we're doing good if we do that), or murders, rapes, those kinds of things that really piss people off, but affect very few of us.

      All of this while they ignore nearly all white-collar crime. Why? Because people are
      • The DOJ doesn't generally prosecute violent crime.

        And they are weak at white-collar crime, not for sinister reasons but because these cases are very hard and expensive to try. A prosecutor would rather put five people in prison, and let one go, than spend all his time putting that guy in prison and let five go.
  • The power of money (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jdifool ( 678774 ) on Thursday November 20, 2003 @10:57PM (#7525385) Homepage Journal
    Hi,

    let's make some maths together.
    • There have been roughly 125 000 people scammed by the 125 arrested scammers. If we just stick to the hypothesis that the average scam lasts for one year (if anyone has more information about that, welcome), it makes a difference of 47 000 (125 000 - 4*3*58000) between the scammed people and the number of complaints.
    • Given that the overall loss is estimated to 100 million US, and making a real nice average calculation, we can just imagine that 37,6 million (47 000/125 000*100 million) dollars have not been claimed.
    Where will that money go ?

    Regards,
    jdif
    • Re #1: I think you're applying too much precision (and I don't follow your logic, anyway). There were about 50,000 complaints last year and they expect about 80,000 this year. 125,000 people had credit card files stolen or got conned into giving up AOL passwords or something like that by these 125 people. The numbers seem roughly plausible to me.

      Re #2: I very much doubt if anything remotely like $62 million has been actually recovered. I'd be amazed if they got $6 million back.
  • by Pavan_Gupta ( 624567 ) <`pg8p' `at' `virginia.edu'> on Thursday November 20, 2003 @11:00PM (#7525394)
    I'm not an Ashcroft fan, but this situation has allowed me to grow a slight bit less angry with this tyrant -- and for good reason. See, the Internet is much like the "wild west" with vigilantes trying to police the deserts (spam prevention organizations, SpyBot Search and Destroy, security groups, etc), but the problem is, our once epic vigilante is dwarfed by a simple DDoS in the virtual world of the internet. The real world is where the problem stems from, and it's a waste of time to stop attacks launched from "the real world" on the internet. It's about time our government stepped up and put a stop to aggregious crimes happening on the internet.

    I see this as a first step in the right direction. People need to learn to stop rampant abuse of an amazing tool. Ashcroft should stamp on illegal filesharers too. It's about time people started playing the game of life legally again. Come on now, leave the blackmarket for IRC.
    • by 1lus10n ( 586635 ) on Thursday November 20, 2003 @11:20PM (#7525496) Journal
      YEAH ! because crime in the real world doesnt exist or cause anyone problems.

      We cant keep our troops from getting killed, we cant stop people from ramming planes into buildings and we cant stop CHILDREN from doing drugs, shooting each other, and "sharing" copyrighted materials. yet somehow arresting far less than 1% of the "cyber" criminals out there is somehow a great thing. right. somehow i fail to be amazed.

      why dont we take the money they spent on this nice government action and put it to some good use, like education.

      The government (any)cannot and should not police the internet since the internet is NOT owned by the government.

      i personally think an international organization seperate from real world government should be created from elected (prefferably knowledgeable, unlike the people currently trying to ruin/run the internet) people who then govern cyber space. using a universal set of laws to prosecute people. its the only way this will be fair to all 6 billion people on this planet.
      • The government (any) cannot and should not police the internet since the internet is NOT owned by the government.

        Wrong.
        If the Internet is used by a criminal to steal from people by means of credit card fraud, the government can and should prosecute that criminal. Criminals have to be punished, no matter what channel of communication or infrastructure is used in the crime. How would you react to credit card fraud if it happened to you? "Damned, I got robbed. But hey, it happened over the Internet and th
        • "If the Internet is used by a criminal to steal from people by means of credit card fraud, the government can and should prosecute that criminal. Criminals have to be punished, no matter what channel of communication or infrastructure is used in the crime. "

          I think your missing the point, i dont think brick-and-mortar governments know enough about cyber space to police it, as such something should be done to create a body, legislative, legal or other to police the internet. No government should try to
          • I have no idea if your figures are correct, but there's no way you can simply look at a number and scream "too much!" You have to understand what is bought for that number.

            Sun Tzu wrote something like "It is cheaper to pay the best spies lavishly than to pay the worst army stingily." NSA earned its huge budget by producing priceless intelligence that advanced US interests and saved US lives. The history of signals intelligence shows that it is a good investment for nations.
  • Nice link... (Score:5, Informative)

    by jdifool ( 678774 ) on Thursday November 20, 2003 @11:03PM (#7525413) Homepage Journal
    if you want to get into the details [ifccfbi.gov](pdf file)

    Regards,
    jdif
  • Crackdowns like this should happen on a much more regular basis. It's too bad that the resources required in order to police something as huge as the internet are beyond measure. Fortunately, every step taken that helps to prevent these kinds of things from happening is a step in the right direction.
  • by Trillian_1138 ( 221423 ) <slashdot@@@fridaythang...com> on Thursday November 20, 2003 @11:09PM (#7525444)
    How were they tracked down? Was it with previously available tools, or were formerly impossible acts made possible under the PATRIOT act? Good old detective sluething, or warrant-less email tracking? How will they be charged? With charges that fit the crime, ot as cyber-terrorists? Because while hacking computers is a real concern, sending out annoying messages about baseball shouldn't be at the top of Ashcroft's list.

    I'm not accusing Ashcroft of anything. Yet. But I am VERY VERY suspicious of anything that he touches, or anything fro his department. This is hopefully a step in the right direction. People who con others out of their credit cards or hijacks other computers should be prosecuted. But I think the public needs to closely examine what exactly is going on behind the scenes.

    -Trillian
    • If they tracked down scammers under the patriot act, the average citizen is only going to think that it is justified. In that case, we would prefer them not to know :)
  • by soft_guy ( 534437 ) on Thursday November 20, 2003 @11:10PM (#7525449)
    When I lived in Missouri I once had a problem with being slammed by various telephone companies (mostly from Texas.)

    Slamming is where they change your long distance service from your preferred service to a different one (usually one that charges a very high rate) without your permission.

    I didn't know what to do about it and Southwestern Bell's answer was that I should just pay my bill and shut up. So, I called John Ashcroft's office because he was one of my US Senators. Someone at his office made a call to SW Bell on my behalf and voila my problem was solved.

    In this case, he has captured people who were actually out comitting crimes against people. These crimes had victims and real consequences. I, for one, applaud this news.

    Tomorrow I can go back to fuming about the patriot act. Today, I say "Thank you very much Attorney General Ashcroft for getting some criminals off the internet!"
    • by applemasker ( 694059 ) on Thursday November 20, 2003 @11:50PM (#7525631)
      Let's not forget that this guy lost an election to someone who had died before we nominate him for any humanitarian awards.
    • Ashcroft is pure evil.

      I even have photos of him shaking hands with Sadamm whenever he was with the Reagan administration secretly supplying Iraq with "materials" to try and destry Iran in ther iran/iraq conflict much the same way Reagan/Bush SR. supplied afghanistan with training/missles/weapons to defeat those dreaded russians!

      This guy is the biggest liar i have ever seen
    • I have a similar story. When I was in the Navy, I bought some stuff from the Navy Exchange on their "home layaway plan" (basically, a credit line). After I'd been out of the service for a few years, I received a letter that I still owed like $700 for some furniture. They gave me a 1-800 number to call back on, so I gathered my cancelled checks (yeah, I keep all of 'em) and my discharge papers that showed where the Exchange had signed off that I owed them no money.

      They never answered the phone through a

  • by dameron ( 307970 ) on Thursday November 20, 2003 @11:10PM (#7525454)
    "Mikkke Schmidt", as he called himself, has plagued alt.sport.baseball.phila-phillies for some years now. Have a read and imagine the FBI busting your favorite troll...

    Some samples of his "work". [google.com]

    The charges. [usdoj.gov]

    Apparently he's not the sharpest spoon in the drawer as he not only "email bombed" the Phillies management with rants such as this one, [google.com] but also, obviously, posted the exact material to Usenet.

    Read some, there's some quality trollin' ('though not as refined as the infamous "cordial boy" or King Tut).

    -dameron

    • ...a disgruntled Philadelphia Phillies fan who hacked into computers nationwide and launched spam e-mails criticizing the baseball team...

      Jeez, those Philly fans never give up do they? I don't think they'd be satisfied even if their teams won the World Series, Super Bowl, Stanley Cup and the NBA Championship. They'd still find something to complain about - haven't these guys heard of rooting for the home team? No wonder the old Veteran's Stadium had a courthouse and jail added to its basement.
    • He also went by the nickname of Travis Lee. Here [google.com]'s another example of his work. That was my dad he was pretending to be, causing him to get involved, and give the FBI some information on the guy. It was a relief to finally see him caught.
    • of all the things Philly fans have done over the years, that was certainly a first. We've already:
      • booed Santa Claus (though he deserved it - if anyone wants the history I'll give it)
      • ripped apart Connie Mack Stadium while the last game was still going on
      • had a then-District-Attorney-now-PA-Governer dare someone into throwing snowballs at an Eagles game
      • jumped Tie Domi in the penalty box
      • gave JD Drew a bunch of D-cell batteries

      Who'da thunk that hacking & spamming would join that list?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 20, 2003 @11:25PM (#7525518)
    I run a small web site that has unfortunately attracted the attention of a persistent credit card fraudster. He seems to be a kid who thinks he's anonymous but I know enough about him for any police officer to find him in minutes. I warned him that I would report him to the police if he didn't stop what he was doing but he continued so I had no option but to file a police report. (It would have been illegal for me not to report him.)

    After all of the formalities had taken place I spoke to the officer who would be handling the case and I asked how long it would take to process because all the time I was losing money to some stupid kid. The officer was very understanding and sympathetic but this was roughly his reply:

    "I've got a pile of reports on drugs offences. They generally take a year to process. This report will go on the bottom of that pile."

    It seems to me that the reality of crime on the Internet, with the possible exception of child abuse/pornography, is that most criminals will either get away with it entirely or they'll have months, maybe years, to rip-off as many people as they want, before the law eventually catches up with them and delivers a light slap on the wrist.

    ps. Wouldn't it be great if you order something over the Internet, legitimately, using your own credit card, receive the product or service but never pay a single penny? Well you can, it's easy, every online retailer knows how it's done and credit card companies have no interest in preventing it. Ask any retailer who is to blame for credit card fraud and the answer will be the same: Credit card companies. I'm not an expert on the subject but I feel confident in saying that with a change of policy from credit card issuers, upwards of 90% of online card fraud could be stopped over-night. I also feel confident in saying that this change of policy will not happen.
    • Ask any retailer who is to blame for credit card fraud and the answer will be the same: Credit card companies.

      It is expensive to chase after CC fraudsters, particularly if they are from another country. Any one merchant may only see a single crime from one fraudster and it may not even be enough to be interesting for the FBI. That single fraudster is typically comitting frauds against many merchants but it is only really the credit card companies who have the resources to go after these people.

      I'm n

    • Absoloutely!

      One thing I would add to that, however, is that fortunately, things are changing -- and as you suggest, not due to the credit card issuers. There is an EU directive that is going to hold the banks responsible for CC fraud, and guess what? They are responding. There are initiatives such as 'Verified by Visa' and similar ones for MasterCard etc, where basically you will have a password for your credit card, that doesn't get sent to the merchants, but straight to the banks. Card-not-present me
    • ps. Wouldn't it be great if you order something over the Internet, legitimately, using your own credit card, receive the product or service but never pay a single penny? Well you can, it's easy, every online retailer knows how it's done and credit card companies have no interest in preventing it.

      Well dammit man, tell us how to do it! I did some math, and if I don't have to pay money, I can get a LOT more stuff!

  • by mcd7756 ( 628070 ) on Thursday November 20, 2003 @11:25PM (#7525519) Homepage

    "...a Virginia woman who sent fake e-mails to America Online customers asking them to update their credit card numbers to a disgruntled Philadelphia Phillies fan..."

    I'm not a baseball fan. Was it supposed to make him feel better about their season?

  • by tagishsimon ( 175038 ) on Thursday November 20, 2003 @11:39PM (#7525581) Homepage
    Given that the indictment was laid against the Philly spammer before the supposed start date of the supposed operation...

    http://www.cybercrime.gov/carlsonArrest.htm ... I'd venture to say that the probability is that operation cyber sweep is little more than a PR exercise to link together various extant cases to make it look as though serious co-ordinated action is taking place.
  • Good to see.. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Large Green Mallard ( 31462 ) <lgm@theducks.org> on Thursday November 20, 2003 @11:47PM (#7525621) Homepage
    Good to see that finally they're stopping hiding behind the whole innocent until proven guilty thing.. I mean, arrested and convicted.. same thing, let's lump them in together, right? :)

    "Seventy indictments to date have led to arrests or convictions of 125 people"
    • 70 indictments led to arrests of 125 people, and some of those have already been convicted in a court of law.

      All it means is that some cases have progressed further than others.

      OBTW, that's not a Justice Department quote, but rather text from Wired.

      Who is dispensing with 'innocent until proven guilty"?
      • Who is dispensing with 'innocent until proven guilty"?

        Those who assume that because someone has been arrested, they will be tried and convicted, and thus should be counted in the same group as those who have already been convicted.
  • by vistic ( 556838 ) on Thursday November 20, 2003 @11:51PM (#7525637)
    Commence Operation.... Vacu-suck!
  • I see you're focusing on the important stuff: disgruntled baseball fans & small time crooks. Next decade, when you get a chance, try prosecuting Ken Lay for the billions he stole or some real terrorists, now that you have that Patriot Act.

    Have a nice day.
  • by SubtleNuance ( 184325 ) on Thursday November 20, 2003 @11:55PM (#7525648) Journal
    Attorney General John Ashcroft said Thursday that law-enforcement agents had arrested 125 suspects in a crackdown on Internet crimes ranging from hacking and software piracy to credit card fraud and selling stolen goods over the Internet, according to Wired. The investigation, begun Oct. 1 and dubbed Operation Cyber Sweep, involved police from Ghana to Southern California and uncovered 125,000 victims who had lost more than $100 million.

    So, is this worthwhile effort? Who else smells the propaganda? How much does a bs operation like this cost these governments?

    Instead of pursuing violent street criminals or corporate whores who bankrupt whole billion-dollar companies with lies and theft leaving tens-of-thousands of pensioners and unemployed?

    Instead John Ascroft spends his time constructing a ruse to set up as chimera for the Coprorate Media to parrot in order to scare the population straight -- wouldnt want lawlessness would we?

    So, what does it cost to construct this kind of psy-op on the American public? Is the media aware before the event? How much is spent on post-'operation' press, PR, Cops /FBI/insvestigators/staff during the operation, flights/calls/meetings for higher-ups to organize the event, press-invitations, etc etc etc vs. the actual amount of $ stolen? How much fear and ominous sounding threats against the free-intellect of the public will the American public endour before they tell these plutocratic whores to re-adjust their priorities?

    What is more important or what should government's attention/resources be spent? Helping an elderly women on a declining social-insurance in a cold tenament -- or -- making sure the Visa Board of Directors keeps profit up in order that they may share $500Million salary between 12 people?

    • This is something that can be criticised either way. If the AG goes after a bunch of petty criminals, and it costs more to prosecute them than the average take, its a publicity stunt. If his office focuses on crimes with high enough consequences to be cost effective, well that $150,000 per count for copyright violation makes that one of the laws worth enforcing. As long as some rather trivial offenses have such big penalties, challenging these actions on cost effectiveness grounds is not even approximately

  • Wow...125,000 victims, 125 criminals. That's a 1000:1 ratio. You know, that's really sad. Back in the day it would have taken thousands of criminals to bilk that many people. So right off the bat there are a lot of criminals out of work. Factor in the lost revenue to the government (stamps, telephone taxes), and to companies like the phone company, stationery stores, typewriter ribbon manufacturers and it's clear that this whole "computer revolution" has been a "bad thing". And to top it off, lawyers
  • by berwyn ( 409396 ) on Friday November 21, 2003 @12:07AM (#7525702)
    Open up to the financial pages of any newspaper this week and start adding up the financial scams from some of the most respected financial institutions in America. Add that to the Enron and all the other incidents that were suppose to reform the business world.
  • ...how many of those arrested people are real scammers, and how many are victims of pedophile baiting, file-swappers, skr1pt kiddies and other small fish/minor offense or plain innocent.
  • how many slashdotters were of that 125? More than 40% I'd bet.
  • While I agree that the patriot act is a scary thing, I think John Ashcroft is an honest person and won't abuse the power. What I'm more worried about is who gains that power through the years.

    John Ashcroft did great things for Missouri. The only complaint I ever heard about him from someone I actually knew was that he stopped some state officials from receiving their raises. I can't remember the exact situation but it sounded like he did Missourians a huge favor to prevent already over-inflated salaries fr

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