Spammer Demands And Receives Access To Accuser's Hard Drive

from the bad-news dept

There's a fascinating, if somewhat confusingly titled, post on Slashdot discussing a lawsuit in Washington state against a spammer. Washington State, of course, put in place one of the earliest anti-spammer laws, allowing individuals to sue spammers for $500/spam if they can track down the spammer. A few people have done nicely forcing local spammers to pay up. In one such case, however, the spammer countered by getting a computer "expert" to demand from the judge that the spammer get an image copy of the accuser's hard drive to look at the "evidence." Even under normal conditions this would be ridiculous -- but it was even more ridiculous here because the spam messages in question were sent to webmail accounts at Hotmail and Yahoo Mail, meaning that they never directly touched the recipient's hard drive. It was clearly a tactic designed to frustrate the guy suing the spammer -- and, unfortunately, it worked. The judge agreed with the "expert" that the hard drive image should be turned over to the spammer. The Slashdot article is confusing, because that's the story it gives, but the title says that the person doesn't have to hand over the hard drive. The explanation appears to be that the guy in question has "settled" the case with the spammer before he needed to hand over his hard drive, though terms of the deal aren't clear at all. Either way, this is a bad decision and will encourage other similar tactics when spammers are brought to court in the future. Hopefully, other judges will recognize that this serves no good purpose other than intimidation and won't allow it.
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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Nov 2006 @ 5:37pm

    Will this apply fairly to everyone?

    So the next time some corporate entity (e.g. Microsoft, Yahoo!, AOL, etc.) accuses some spammer, will said spammer be able to demand access to all of the accusers hard drives?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Nov 2006 @ 5:42pm

    Tech advisors for judges

    This is why judges need technology advisors that actually know what they are talking about for internet, ecommerce, and general computer and electronics cases. I don't mean some old guy that used Word Perfect or Lotus back in the 80's - more like professors that teach networking, an A+ cert guy, etc who know how things work TODAY and can actually explain it to somebody inside 20 minutes to an hour...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Phlatus the Elder, 8 Nov 2006 @ 7:00pm

    He who is his own lawyer...

    ...has a fool for a client. And it doesn't look like the spam victim had an attorney. (If he did, he needs to fire it and get a new one.)

    Pretty typical, and predictable, defense lawyer move.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    anna, 8 Nov 2006 @ 7:01pm

    "This is why judges need technology advisors that actually know what they are talking about for internet, ecommerce, and general computer and electronics cases. I don't mean some old guy that used Word Perfect or Lotus back in the 80's - more like professors that teach networking, an A+ cert guy, etc who know how things work TODAY"

    Yeah I'm an old geezer at 36, you wet behind the ears little pipsqueak, and I used WP and Lotus back in the 1980's!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Nov 2006 @ 8:57pm

    agree

    i agree very much so, when someone says you did something and then demands money from you in court all "evidence" should be seen by everyone.

    What happens when you can sue anyone just because you say they spammed you. LOL No evidence required, just the fact you said they did it.

    Fact is if you use email for anything other than a ha ha from time to time your stupid. To easy for anything to happen with email. It's dated. Thing of the past. Email is for people who think of it as something new still. Say someone who used WP and Lotus back in the 80s!

    who still uses email anyway?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Nov 2006 @ 8:58pm

    agree too

    lol i agree. It's like banner ads. WHO CLICKS BANNER ADS FOR REAL... Come on guys. We see the ad, we pass the ad.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Sanguine Dream, 8 Nov 2006 @ 9:18pm

    ???

    i just want to know what genius decided that getting an image of the hard drive would to anyone any good. Sounds like a scare tactic to me...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Stuart, 8 Nov 2006 @ 9:57pm

    Hahaha

    That's funny, now the spammer has access to all his personal information & banking details :P

    Stuart
    http://www.earnersblog.com

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    James, 9 Nov 2006 @ 8:22am

    violence

    As much as I abhore violence, I sometimes wish the anti-abortion nut-cases among us would focus their "efforts" on spammers instead. They both deserve each other.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Nully, 9 Nov 2006 @ 10:51am

    Simple Solution

    Simple, just give them a USB pen drive with Firefox on it. ;P

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    John, 9 Nov 2006 @ 5:06pm

    People in Charge just don't understand

    Judges, Legislators, Lawyers, etc. -- The people making the decisions are the people least equipped to do so.

    I think History is not going to look back kindly on the 'turn of the century' - when it comes to socio-eonomic and technological issues are concerned.

    I'll probably be apologizing to my children for all a long time for all the stuff my generation screwed up.
    "The technology was soo new, we just didn't understand what we were doing."

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    misanthropic humanist, 9 Nov 2006 @ 5:50pm

    Fear and intimidation IS the law

    "Hopefully, other judges will recognize that this serves no good purpose other than intimidation and won't allow it."

    How can you assert this with a straight face?
    The entire American system of law is based on one concept, intimidation.

    Anyway, lawyers and politicians should keep their noses out of technology which is beyond their minds.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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