Apparently, the Justice Department is getting set to announce the largest crackdown on spammers so far, encompassing dozens of arrests of major spammers. A few interesting things stand out from the article. First, the operation was apparently financed by the Direct Marketing Association who (finally) seems to be realizing that spam has absolutely destroyed email for them as a legitimate channel. The operation also appears to be fairly comprehensive, involving making use of a variety of lists of known spammers, setting up decoy email addresses and even ordering spammed products for the sake of getting details. Still, perhaps the most interesting element is that many of the charges appear to have nothing at all to do with CAN SPAM. While I'm sure many of those charged will be hit with CAN SPAM on top of other charges, it looks like the group of anti-spam investigators working on "Operation Slam Spam" have enough evidence to charge spammers with things like credit card fraud and computer crimes -- both of which could have been used against many spammers in the past if anyone actually cared enough. Of course, don't get your hopes up yet. As some people in the article note, there are still plenty of spammers out there. The article also points out that, for all the fanfare about the arrests, trials are another story. For example, it brings up the highly publicized action in April where the Feds charged the first group of people with violating CAN SPAM. What didn't get quite as much publicity (or, well, any publicity) is the fact that the feds dropped that case last month. So, while it would be good for spammers to realize they're not above the law, let's wait and see what really happens before anyone declares this a victory.
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