Another Spammer Expected To Get Jailtime

from the a-good-deterrant? dept

Last week we were wondering if huge fines were really a deterrent on spammers, since, in most cases it was unlikely the spammers would ever pay. So, if fines don’t do it, will jailtime? Another spammer appears to be facing about two years in jail for a bunch of bogus health and drug spams. In his case, it sounds like he may be in more trouble for using computers from Ford, Amocco, Unisys, the US Army Information Center, and the Administrative Office of US Courts to send out those spams, than just for sending the spam messages directly. Actually, if you’re looking to avoid jailtime for spamming, you probably shouldn’t make unauthorized use of any computers having to do with the US government, let alone the “Administrative Office of US Courts.” This isn’t the first time, of course, that a spammer has been sent to jail, but it still does raise questions about what the proper punishment should be.

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Comments on “Another Spammer Expected To Get Jailtime”

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Rikko says:

How about a recording industry punishment?

Recall the story a few weeks back about people convicted of pirating music in Europe (was it Denmark?) could be forced to carry around signs saying what they did?

I think a guy with a sandwich board sign saying SPAMMER having the stand on a busy street corner for a month is a delicious punishment. I know I would go out of my way to buy milkshakes and drive by and throw them at him.

z0idberg says:

Re: How about a recording industry punishment?

I’m with Rikko on the milkshakes call.

But you shouldnt have to but them, anyone with a spam mail from this guy gets a voucher for a free milkshake, paid for by any fines money that could be collected from the sale of any of his assets. One milkshake per spam received.

And they should be fish milkshakes. and hot. mmmmm hot fish mikshakes.

Anonymous Coward says:

No Subject Given

Whatever you think about the punishment for SPAM, doesn’t really enter into this case. The man used computers that he did not own illegally. So he should be punished. Why go looking for new laws/punishments when he clearly broke some existing laws by breaking into and misusing those computers. Sometimes it seems that we get so caught up in the new crusades (SPAM, Unauthorized Wi-Fi access, etc.) that we forget that he already broke some laws that have well established punishments and penalties. Let’s just punish him for those and be done with it.

anon says:

Re: No Subject Given

Yes, there are laws governing the abuse of computers that you do not own. Yes, he should be tried by those laws. However, if he is not punished for everything (or at least have it mentioned), then that sends out the message that it’s ok as long as you aren’t using the government’s computers to do it.

I agree with the milkshakes idea.

Mike S. says:

Re: Re: Jail for emailing people? Seriously

I’m as annoyed by spam as the next guy, but seriously, jail time? Every time we throw a harmless criminal (if you can even call a spammer a criminal) in jail we risk a harmful one getting early parole or probation because there isn’t any room for him.
Don’t start saying that a spammer is causing real harm, either. That’s just crap. Filling up your inbox is annoying as hell but you have no right protecting you against annoyances.
Apparently the case involves unauthorized use of others’ computers, which should be punished. Also, if there was fraud and/or theft involved, again we have an issue. Simply emailing people about viagra or whatever should not be a crime. Get over yourselves.

lar3ry says:

Re: Re: Re: Jail for emailing people? Seriously

Bzzzt! Wrong answer! Play again.

That email selling me Viagra has a Subject line that reads “The roses are sweet…”, or “Re: Your account.” In the latter, it is implying that this is a reply to a message I sent. The from address says “” and that’s not the spammer’s real address. There are intentional misspellings and additional random text thrown into the message in order to try to fool spam blockers… in other words, it’s trying to get around those people that DO NOT WANT this shit and actively try to keep it from cluttering their mailboxes. In addition, the spam is routed from hijacked PC’s to hide the identity of the person that’s actually sending the spam.

If a spammer wants to do business legitimately, they should have a double opt-in system with email verification that the person that they are sending their crap to really wants it. Many spammers claim that they do this, but I can assure you that not one of them that has sent spam to me has had me volunteer for it.

The truth is, spammers lie. When all is said and done, that’s the only truth about spam. Lying is antisocial at the very least, and in some cases it can result in jail time (lying to a policeman, lying to a federal investigator, lying in court, lying about another person in print, etc.).

Spamming is not a victimless crime. There is a victim for every hijacked PC, and for every minute wasted while on the payroll when dealing with SPAM. There is a victim for every person that shells out good money to purchase “spam removal software” for their systems.

Don’t coddle spammers! You’re playing into their hands.

Sending a spammer to jail for hijacking PC’s and sending the billions of crap messages sent out each day is just as fair as sending a wigged-out junkie who just robbed the local liquor store to jail.

If the death penalty is there as a deterrent for murder, then jail sentences should be there as a deterrent for spammers. Unfortunately, until all countries do the same, all we’re going to be doing is moving the spam sources overseas.

Fazookus says:

Re: Re: Re: Jail for emailing people? Seriously

Yes, jail time for Spammers.
Email is intended to enable communication between human building, and it’s become an important communication tool, fast, inexpensive, convenient. It’s become so important, that email messages more and more affect our personal lives and our financial lives.
If one important ligitimate message is lost because either the shear volumn of meaningless spam is so great that the important message is overlook, or if a SPAM filter incorrectly blocks an important message, then the socal and human use of email is compromised and we need to do something to keep parasitic bulk mailers under control.
We in the US didn’t do a great job in controlling SPAM (to say the least) but the law can and should be revisited and expanded to make unsolicited commercial email flat-out illegal, and once that’s done start jailing violators.
Millions, or billions, of people have their means of interaction compromised by a tiny number of ‘business’ and that needs to stop, in the interest of the expanding informartion society.

Aaron says:

Re: Re: Re: Jail for emailing people? Seriously

I agree with not going overboard on incarcerating people as it just leads to higher costs for the criminal system and as you pointed out, occasionally could lead to someone getting released early that probably shouldn’t have. However, Spam does cost money, real money. Even setting aside costs for software and hardware to deal with it, there is the issue of fraud. Granted, there is a part of me feels that if people are stupid enough to fall for it maybe they deserve it, but the spam “industry” generates millions of dollars per year in revenue which is why they do it in the first place.

As for punishments, just like everything else, its should depend on the crime. A person that attempts to defraud people should face a stiffer sentence than someone that just sends out pointless e-mails – that’s what blogs are for…;)

Mike S. says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Jail for emailing people? Seriously

Jesus people.

First, let’s all realize that you have FAR FEWER RIGHTS than most people would have you believe.

You DO NOT have a right to be free of annoyance.
You DO NOT have a right to a clean inbox.
The rights you have are clearly delimited in the constitution, and that’s about it. Senator Schmo may help enact a law that (consitutional or not) provides some relief from annoyances, but that does not make it a right.

As to the fact that spam costs companies money: So the f**k what? LOTS of things cost a company far more money and nobody gets thrown in jail for it. Business has a cost, this is now one of them. Get over it.

Some of you objected to my earlier post because spammers take over other’s computers. I addressed that specific issue, but I’ll do it again. I agree completely that that’s an issue, and should be dealt with. But that is an issue all by itsself, irrespective of whether the hijacker uses the machines for Spam or DoS attacks.

Ross Avery says:

Punishment for Spammers

What was that question again? What should the punishment be? I always wonder how much punishment would be enough for the someone that takes thousands of hours out of the Amerian economy. How much is that worth. And what about my 10 year old daughter getting all kinds of viagra and porn ads in her email.
Even though I try to watch what she gets it arrives in her inbox faster than I can delete it.
Now let’s answer that question, do you think life is too much? May others would get the idea that it isnt worth it,

dude says:

Re: Punishment for Spammers

Millions of spam emails wastes how much time in the economy? Time has a value. How is a vandal punished, when they spraypaint all over property? If they did it thousands of times? After all, it just takes time to clean it all off, thus it’s harmless, right? If we wanted to, we could lobby for spammers to get the death sentence. If enough people want something, the democracy will bring it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Punishment for Spammers

” If enough people want something, the democracy will bring it.”

Democracy in the US doesn’t work that way. That is why we have a constitution. A Democracy where the majority vote can completely rewrite or change existing rights and guaranties is not a place I want to live. Don’t get me wrong, I believe in Democracy and think that a democratic government is the best form of gov. on earth. But the truth is, the greek city states tried total democracy multiple times, and it didn’t work. Too many times the majority simply made a new rule, giving dictatorship power to an individual or a group of individuals. The truth is, people are stupid and often will not see things in the long term. So if the short term benefit seems better than some suffering or economic hardship, many people will choose the short term. That’s why the original writers of the constitution made it so hard to change it. it is a long and complicated process to change the constitution.

Net Geek says:

Re: Re: Re: Punishment for Spammers

The term “victimless Crime” does not apply in more ways than “lost time”. My company had to install a mail relay system to clean off 98% of the email which was SPAM before we could send the legitimate email to our “real” mailserver. Otherwise our mailserver would be brought to it’s knees. That meant purchasing a server, software, and consultant time.
We were definitely financially victimized!

Prescott says:

Re: Re: Re: Punishment for Spammers

I was being lighthearted earlier but i underestimated the gravity of the situation and how strongly people felt after reading the latter posts.

I believe punishment must fit the crime and sorry, but I dont think spam qualifies for taking a human life. Please tell me you are exagerrating when you are mentioning the death sentance.

And since the jails are all full, if you have to choose either a rapist/murderer/drug dealer next door or spammer I think most would choose spammer.

Take his money or house or property. Thats the way you punish the greedy.

Anonymous Patriot says:

Lets bring back the stocks!

HEY! I have an idea!

Lets bring back the stocks! Then we could put EVERY petty criminal in them for a few days, and let people do whatever they wanted! You could throw your milkshakes at the guy ? and he couldn?t even move to avoid it! Dirty diapers too! And if some vigilante really decided that sending spam was worth the death penalty ? he could throw bricks at the guy, and break his jaw, or his skull…. poke out an eye maybe – really maim him good ? and for LIFE too! And if it was a woman in the stocks we could build special ones so she would have to be bent over and anyone who wanted to could rape her at his leisure! THAT will sure send a message to all those spammers ? it will be a deterrent!

Putting people in jail for sending you unwanted Email is equally as asinine.

It is an eye for an eye people. Not a life for an eye.

Let the punishment fit the crime ? and stop throwing people in prison for non-violent crimes ? for the love of God.

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