How Would You Sentence A Convicted Spammer?
from the what-makes-sense? dept
We’ve covered some of the case against spammer Robert Soloway. He was arrested back in May of 2007 on criminal (rather than civil) charges. He’d already lost multimillion dollar civil lawsuits from Microsoft and an ISP. He hadn’t paid a dime of what he owed. Instead, he just kept on spamming. When he was arrested, of course, officials claimed that it would have an immediate impact on spam — but it doesn’t seem like spam has decreased at all. Earlier this year, Soloway pleaded guilty, and now the judge in the case is struggling over what the sentence should be, noting that there’s little to compare it to that may be appropriate (her closest approximation: a polluter).
Of course, Soloway is hardly the first spammer to receive a jail sentence. A few years back Jeremy Jaynes received nine years in jail for spamming. This certainly seemed excessive, no matter how much you hate spam. It seems like there would be better ways to punish spammers than give them sentences worse than some violent offenders. And, of course, for all the talk about how these long sentences would deter spammers, the only thing it seems to have deterred is their willingness to so openly brag about their achievements. There’s more spam than ever before and it’s harder than ever to track the spammers down. So, are there more creative ideas for how Soloway should be dealt with beyond just locking him up? Update In related news, another spammer has just been given 30 months in jail.