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Spammer Lance Atkinson Fined $16 Million

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the jail-would-be-finer dept.

Spam 100

Nashville Guy writes "According to Australia's The Age, 'A New Zealand man living in Queensland and believed to be behind the world's largest spam operation, has been ordered to pay more than $16 million for running the illegal enterprise. Lance Atkinson, 26, originally from Christchurch, was living in Pelican Waters on the Sunshine Coast when the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) had his assets frozen last year. ... The FTC found Atkinson and American Jody Smith were at the centre of the world's largest internet spam operation, dubbed 'AffKing,' having recruited spammers from around the world.'"

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And Yet He Won't Pay a Penny (4, Informative)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 3 years ago | (#30284908)

The BBC coverage [bbc.co.uk] correctly notes:

Mr Atkinson will only have to pay his part of the $15.15m fine if he enters the US.

I guess all we can do is pray for extradition?

Re:And Yet He Won't Pay a Penny (1)

olsmeister (1488789) | more than 3 years ago | (#30284966)

Perhaps a clandestine kidnapping mission is in order. The unknown kidnappers could then mysteriously release Mr. Atkinson inside the United States.

Re:And Yet He Won't Pay a Penny (4, Funny)

kirill.s (1604911) | more than 3 years ago | (#30285046)

...where he would pay the fine or go to jail and share a cell with men who have enlarged their penises, taken Viagra and are looking for a new relationship.

Re:And Yet He Won't Pay a Penny (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30285824)

They have excellent genuine fake watches.

Re:And Yet He Won't Pay a Penny (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30292010)

We see this same damn joke on every single story about spammers. Can we give it a rest already? It's just not funny anymore.

Re:And Yet He Won't Pay a Penny (3, Interesting)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 3 years ago | (#30285082)

It appears that New Zealand does [wikipedia.org] extradite to the U.S.

I guess the question is whether or not the U.S. will request it.

Re:And Yet He Won't Pay a Penny (0, Flamebait)

w0mprat (1317953) | more than 3 years ago | (#30286732)

It appears that New Zealand does [wikipedia.org] extradite to the U.S.

I guess the question is whether or not the U.S. will request it.

New Zealand != Australia, the man lives in Queensland, an Australian state. That must be a north american understanding of geopraphy I detect. You see, Australia is just a small island somewhere to the south of New Zealand and the continent of Tasmania... um...wait..

Re:And Yet He Won't Pay a Penny (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30287126)

Australia is not a small island. It is bigger than Greenland.

Re:And Yet He Won't Pay a Penny (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30291882)

Are you an AI?

Re:And Yet He Won't Pay a Penny (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30287720)

I was all set to join you in your condemnation of this idiot for not knowing the difference between NZ and AU and then you go and insult AN ENTIRE CONTINENT of people. Way to go, asshat.

Re:And Yet He Won't Pay a Penny (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30288756)

That must be a north american understanding of geopraphy I detect.

You mean the citizen of a superior nation that you detect, oh dinky di wOmprat.

Re:And Yet He Won't Pay a Penny (1)

mjwx (966435) | more than 4 years ago | (#30292370)

It appears that New Zealand does extradite to the U.S.

I guess the question is whether or not the U.S. will request it.

The spammer is an Australian resident but that shouldn't matter as our government is know for bending over and giving the US what it wants. I only hope that they screw up the paperwork, do yank public servants often write "Michael" instead of "Lance" as we Australians would like that very much.

Re:And Yet He Won't Pay a Penny (2, Funny)

ArhcAngel (247594) | more than 3 years ago | (#30285426)

I don't know...I suspect there are a few Nigerian aristocrats who might like to have a go at him.

Re:And Yet He Won't Pay a Penny (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30287084)

Perhaps a clandestine kidnapping mission is in order. The unknown kidnappers could then mysteriously release Mr. Atkinson inside the United States.

What do you think CIA is for ?

Re:And Yet He Won't Pay a Penny (4, Informative)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 3 years ago | (#30285034)

Also, according to that article, Atkinson’s assets weren’t frozen (contrary to what the summary says).

Jody Smith, his accomplice in the US, was the one whose assets were frozen. Smith has pleaded guilty to “conspiracy to traffic counterfeit goods” and is to be sentenced here in the US this month (December).

However, I still have hopes for Lance Atkinson seeing justice... his brother, Shane, had already been fined $122,000 in a separate case by a New Zealand court (Lance’s conviction was made by a US court, which has no jurisdiction in New Zealand – so he’d have to be extradited, unless he foolishly decided to come here for some reason). I imagine if Lance could be similarly tried in a New Zealand court, he’d be required to pay whatever they demanded.

Re:And Yet He Won't Pay a Penny (0, Flamebait)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#30285078)

If justice is unavailable, I'd settle for an "accident". Those happen all the time, and can be quite gruesome.

Re:And Yet He Won't Pay a Penny (2, Funny)

dangitman (862676) | more than 3 years ago | (#30285346)

... so he’d have to be extradited, unless he foolishly decided to come here for some reason

Oh, that's easy. Just send him an email claiming to be from a former New Zealand prince and ambassador to the US, who has $1 million locked up in a US bank account which can't be accessed unless someone travels to the US to make the withdrawal on his behalf.

Re:And Yet He Won't Pay a Penny (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 3 years ago | (#30285658)

– so he’d have to be extradited, unless he foolishly decided to come here for some reason

Dude LOVES In N Out burger. I don't know if you've ever had it, but 16 million is a small price to taste In N Out again.

Maybe not far off (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30289396)

When I was a chauffeur a few years back, I had some clients who were returning to Georgia from vacation in Mexico who stopped in Scottsdale on their private jet... to eat at In-n-Out Burger. Seriously. They were even nice enough to treat me to lunch. :D

Re:And Yet He Won't Pay a Penny (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30290254)

I would kick in $200 (of the $1200 it would take) for a plane trip to a marketing seminar in Canada... assuming it went via LAX.

Re:And Yet He Won't Pay a Penny (2, Interesting)

Interoperable (1651953) | more than 3 years ago | (#30287272)

Can extraditions be requested for an offense that only carries a fine?

More importantly... (1)

DarthVain (724186) | more than 3 years ago | (#30287688)

Does he actually have 16 million dollars? Because if he doesn't wtf is the point in any of this? To send a message? What message that apparently they are retarded? Message received, over and out.

Quit pissing about and fine him 16 Billi... no Quardrillion dollars, that'll teach'em!

Re:And Yet He Won't Pay a Penny (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30294336)

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what was that??? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30284912)

Sorry I almost missed the post due to the spam

just data (4, Funny)

czarangelus (805501) | more than 3 years ago | (#30284932)

Advertisement wants to be free.

Re:just data (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30285616)

Advertisement wants to be free.

I know you are being funny. I am bored and want to write this anyway.

Of course advertisement wants to be free. Advertisers would be delieriously happy if people freely distributed their electronic ads via filesharing networks. In fact, some advertizers try hard to make their ads entertaining just so that things like this will happen.

Spam isn't about free distribution of data though. It is about pushing data on to users whether they want it or not (and in huge amounts so as to burden the users). The freedom to share data with someone who wants it is distinctly different than the freedom to force data on to someone who doesn't want it.

Additionally (4, Funny)

Rik Sweeney (471717) | more than 3 years ago | (#30285010)

He was also told to apologise to everyone he'd sent spam to.

Foolishly, the court allowed him to send these apologies via email.

Re:Additionally (0)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 3 years ago | (#30285070)

Meh. I wouldn’t mind... it would just go to the spam folder. Gmail is amazing, no?

Re:Additionally (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30285110)

"Hello, this is Homer Simpson aka Happy Dude! The court has ordered me to call every person in town to apologize for my telemarketing scam. I'm sorry. If you can find it in your heart to forgive me, send one dollar to: Sorry Dude, 742 Evergreen Terrace, Springfield. You have the power!"

Re:Additionally (1)

Zarf_is_with_you (1382411) | more than 3 years ago | (#30287402)


Dear Sir's,

Sorry about the Spam let me make it up to you, I have arranged a special offer to make up for his wrong doing on my part, the chance to purchase some magic beans from a guy named Jack at $49.95* **

* shipped from India, Your credit card will be charged in Kazakhstan, an official receipt and warranty will be issued from Nigeria, please allow 4-6 months for shipping. Not responsible for Beans that fail to Grow or Grow out of Control.

**Free Shipping for the first 500 people that respond because you know we can't do this all day.
--
Death by Unga Bunga!

No sympathy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30285012)

He was totally affking for it.

shame (1)

frooties (1690456) | more than 3 years ago | (#30285088)

Is he the man responsible for the larger penis advertisements because if so that sucks, I've just saved up all my money to join... guess I'll have to buy viagra!

Re:shame (1)

TheKidWho (705796) | more than 3 years ago | (#30285284)

He WAS selling Viagera too yah know

Re:shame (1)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 3 years ago | (#30285450)

He WAS selling Viagera too yah know.

Is that a cheap knock off like a Sorny or Magnetbox?

Damn moronic 'anti-spam' laws. (5, Interesting)

DavidTC (10147) | more than 3 years ago | (#30285438)

According to the original documentation [spamhaus.org] , 'In early 2008, a security company identified one botnet -- which it dubbed "Mega-D" -- that sent sparn promoting Affking's VPXL and King Replica products as the worst botnet in the world, accounting for 32% of all spam.'

The Mega-D [wikipedia.org] botnet consisted at least 264,784 [softpedia.com] computers.

That's 264,784 UNAUTHORIZED COMPUTER ACCESS FELONIES.

Why the FUCK are we 'fining' someone who committed at least 264,784 felonies? We invade goddamn countries and charge people with war crimes for that level of criminality!

Anti-spam laws are nonsense. Forget the damn anti-spam laws. Lock them up for the felonies they're committing. Extradition would be a lot easier, too. (Of course, we could just find a few hundred IPs this guy hijacked in Australia, turn them over, and have him locked up there his entire life, instead.)

Re:Damn moronic 'anti-spam' laws. (1)

gregthebunny (1502041) | more than 3 years ago | (#30285796)

According to the original documentation [spamhaus.org] , 'In early 2008, a security company identified one botnet -- which it dubbed "Mega-D" -- that sent sparn promoting Affking's VPXL and King Replica products as the worst botnet in the world, accounting for 32% of all spam.'

"Sparn"?

Re:Damn moronic 'anti-spam' laws. (1)

Richy_T (111409) | more than 3 years ago | (#30286092)

You know, like v1agra sparn

Re:Damn moronic 'anti-spam' laws. (1)

Nursie (632944) | more than 3 years ago | (#30286414)

Maybe it's that I'm on my second beer, but your post just made me laugh like a loon.

+1, would read again.

Re:Damn moronic 'anti-spam' laws. (1)

DavidTC (10147) | more than 3 years ago | (#30287656)

Yeah, I noticed that after I posted.

I copied and pasted that text from the Spamhous link, and it's wrong there too...clearly, some OCR went wrong at some point. ;)

I'm against spam and sparn. And sparm, while we're at it.

Re:Damn moronic 'anti-spam' laws. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30285868)

Lets face it Australia is a prison colony anyway, so by definition he is already doing time :)

Completely the WRONG tactic (2, Interesting)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 3 years ago | (#30285906)

So you suggest:

Lock them up for the felonies they're committing. Extradition would be a lot easier, too. (Of course, we could just find a few hundred IPs this guy hijacked in Australia, turn them over, and have him locked up there his entire life, instead.)

Although as you have rightly noted extradition is extremely difficult, especially when you consider some of the countries where spammers are currently hiding.

However, that is all moot because no amount of law enforcement, threats, or even executions will stop the spammers. And why is that, you might ask? Because no law enforcement tactic addresses the underlying problem that drives spam. For every spammer kidnapped, thrown in jail, murdered, etc... there are many, many, more waiting to take his place. Even more so, there are many people who want his money.

In short, spam is an economic problem. If you really give a damn about the problem, and want to do something more than just make yourself feel better, you would pay attention to the economics that drive spam. Spammers didn't choose their profession to piss you off - they did it to make money. If you want to stop spam, do something about the profits and the problem will go away on its own.

Re:Completely the WRONG tactic (1)

Richy_T (111409) | more than 3 years ago | (#30286134)

Start shooting stupid people?

Re:Completely the WRONG tactic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30286200)

Spam is an idiot problem... if we had people that were smarter *about* using computers, we wouldn't have people buying crap, clicking on links, etc... If people didn't click links or buy stuff through spam messages, spammers wouldn't make money doing it and PRESTO they'd stop (or at least be in greatly reduced numbers.

By properly educating people on the use of computers and that no, every email that comes to you is from someone you know/trust/want to care about, we will be able to get rid of the reason for spam.

Re:Completely the WRONG tactic (3, Interesting)

JoshuaZ (1134087) | more than 3 years ago | (#30286336)

Spam is at its heart an economic problem, but that doesn't mean that it can't be solved using other tactics as well as economic ones. For any far reaching problem in society, the use of many different strategies together has potential to do a better job than any single one. Most responses to proposed anti-spam solutions fail to see that the solutions should occur not in an isolated form but together with other solutions. Thus for example, the standard copy and pasted anti-spam response checklist on Slashdot is always used as if the proposed technique is being touted as a magic bullet. In that regard, spam is a bit like cancer. It is quite silly to claim that we will ever have a single cure for cancer, because cancer is a complicated set of diseases with multiple causes. But a series of different responses (such as chemotherapy, surgery and radiation) used appropriate together can do a pretty decent job in most cases. Thus, cancer is no longer a death sentence. The spam problem should be targetd the same way.

Re:Completely the WRONG tactic (1)

shentino (1139071) | more than 3 years ago | (#30286594)

Spam may be an economic problem, but it has political complications. The credit card industry, which btw has a VERY powerful lobby, makes a tidy profit on credit card purchases from spammed products.

We should not just let spammers get away with it though.

Re:Completely the WRONG tactic (1)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 3 years ago | (#30286600)

Spam is not an economic problem, it is a social problem. However the solution isn't economic or social. The solution is socialogical; it is threat of pain and/or death.

The risk/reward structure is so far out of whack that there is no disincentive affecting the choice.

As previously mentioned, 250,000 unlawful computer access felonies is huge number, and that is what we should be looking at. Nothing short of public flogging/caning/torture or even execution will stop the asshats from being asshats.

That removes or at lease reduces the economic incentive by introducing life threatening consequences. And anyone willing to risk that, deserves exactly what they get.

People who oppose Corporal or Capital Punishment don't understand its purpose. It is supposed to be a deterrent. It doesn't always succeed in every case, but nothing does.

Stupid should hurt. If you cane the bastard this time, the next guy will consider that as a consequence, and think twice. As long as there is no real consequence (fake fines that will never be applied aren't a consequence), then there is no deterrence.

As for the responders to spam, stupid should hurt as well. I suggest that the Government setup fake blue pill shops all over the place, and bilk the stupid people out of as much money as they can, and pay for the new Healthcare system with stupid people's money, and not mine.

Just enroll the idiots in the latest "free sample" scam (Enzyte) crap we see all the time. At least then, the money will go to something more useful (subject to debate), and we'll have all the money we need to do "HealthCare" right! /sarcasm

Re:Completely the WRONG tactic (2, Insightful)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 3 years ago | (#30286856)

Nothing short of public flogging/caning/torture or even execution will stop the asshats from being asshats.

For reasons I already stated, that won't work, either. Even if we made spamming a capital crime in the US this afternoon, it wouldn't mean shit; spammers would continue to spam because they know that they are someplace where the long arm of the US law can't touch them.

But even if somehow, every country in the world agreed today to make spamming a capital crime, that wouldn't mean shit either. It wouldn't take away from the insane profitability of sending spam. And the spammers would know that there are countries where capital crimes can easily be swept under the rug in exchange for payment to the right official(s).

Odd, that your signature mentions that people are

dumb, stupid, panicky animals

While you are yourself offering up an extremely panicky attempt to solve a problem.

Re:Completely the WRONG tactic (1)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 3 years ago | (#30287318)

You're mistaken. My response is not due to Panic, but rather having to deal with the consequences of hosed computers that have been rooted by bots.

The economic damage caused by said bots and rootkits is HUGE.

In the US Constitution, we have the ability to issue letters of marque, which can be used to fight this economic piracy. All we need to do is issue a couple of these letters of marque and let the bastards die a miserable horrible death at the hands of soldiers of fortune.

And no, I'm not kidding. You cannot deal rationally with people like these, because they use it against you. The only choice is to use last ditch efforts to stop them. This is not by choice, but necessity.

You cannot deal with anti social people using normal means. They are anti social because they don't think the rules apply to them, and will use the rules they want against you.

So, let them hide in foreign countries all they want, we'll just send someone after them there. If the other country doesn't like it, then they have to do something about it or STFU.

Re:Completely the WRONG tactic (2)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 3 years ago | (#30287672)

The economic damage caused by said bots and rootkits is HUGE.

If more people set up their computers in a half-way intelligent manner the rootkits would be a thing of the past. Rootkits won't go away as long as the vast majority of windows users log in with full administrator rights. But hey, you're getting closer to the reality of the spamming problem now. You have at least acknowledged an economic component of the problem. Let's see if you find reality from there...

In the US Constitution, we have the ability to issue letters of marque, which can be used to fight this economic piracy. All we need to do is issue a couple of these letters of marque and let the bastards die a miserable horrible death at the hands of soldiers of fortune.

Nope. Another swing and another miss. International hit men will not solve the problem.

If there was a finite supply of spammers, and a limited amount of money to be made from spamming, then a hit man might have some impact. However since neither of those are true, you have proposed nothing more than a panicky, feel-good solution. You might as well propose rounding them up and putting them on a spaceship with a course for the sun.

And no, I'm not kidding. You cannot deal rationally with people like these, because they use it against you.

That may be one place where you have me wrong. At no point did I propose actually dealing with the spammers directly, as you are trying to do.

You cannot deal with anti social people using normal means. They are anti social because they don't think the rules apply to them, and will use the rules they want against you.

You are wrong on that account as well. Many spammers are the leaders of companies (which send spam) and network with many other capitalists (some of whom pay for them to send out spam on their behalf). They may be many things but antisocial is not one of them. And they are sending spam from places where it is legal to do so; they don't see themselves above the law, they just don't agree with US law.

So, let them hide in foreign countries all they want, we'll just send someone after them there. If the other country doesn't like it, then they have to do something about it or STFU.

So you propose then to spend money to break laws in other countries in order to make yourself more content about what people in other countries are doing that affects you? I'm glad people at your level of crazy aren't in charge of our country. Your idea is about as reasonable as the suggestion that executing Bernie Madoff would end the recession.

Re:Completely the WRONG tactic (1)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 3 years ago | (#30289652)

If there was a finite supply of spammers, and a limited amount of money to be made from spamming, then a hit man might have some impact. However since neither of those are true, you have proposed nothing more than a panicky, feel-good solution. You might as well propose rounding them up and putting them on a spaceship with a course for the sun.

There is a limited supply of spammers. The number is somewhere around 6.5 Billion, but it is limited. It is actually probably much less than this, since most people in the world still don't have computers, and most people who do have computers don't have the skills to spam, and most of the people who do have the skills to spam, won't.

Suddenly the problem is more manageable than you think.

At no point did I propose actually dealing with the spammers directly, as you are trying to do.

No, you simply wring your hands and make excuses as to why you can't deal with them. Allowing them free reign to continue to spam, without any consequences, from places you won't go to. Yup, that sure is a solution.

You are wrong on that account as well. Many spammers are the leaders of companies (which send spam) and network with many other capitalists (some of whom pay for them to send out spam on their behalf). They may be many things but antisocial is not one of them. And they are sending spam from places where it is legal to do so; they don't see themselves above the law, they just don't agree with US law.

Um, this is where you are wrong. Spammers don't use their own equipment to spam, or else RBLs would work. They steal other people's equipment and services to send their spam. In the old days, they used Open Relays to send their spam, and when those closed, they made spambots.

I've argued since then, that what they were doing is "theft of services", same as plugging in an extension cord to the electrical socket I have outside my house. Just because it is there, isn't locked up, doesn't mean anyone can use it.

So you propose then to spend money to break laws in other countries in order to make yourself more content about what people in other countries are doing that affects you? I'm glad people at your level of crazy aren't in charge of our country. Your idea is about as reasonable as the suggestion that executing Bernie Madoff would end the recession.

So, you propose that you allow another country to dictate the economic harm caused by people within their country to go .... without .... any consequences? I'm sorry, but that is actually legitimate reason to go to war (unlike fake WMD claims).

If Russia thinks that it is all giggles and grins or worse, is incapable of dealing with the problem, then why shouldn't we deal with it for them? Because they might not like it?

Lawless countries who don't care about their neighbors welfare aren't worthy of consideration. But by all means, bend over and take it, if you like. Don't Fuck with me, I don't like it.

Re:Completely the WRONG tactic (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 3 years ago | (#30290322)

If there was a finite supply of spammers, and a limited amount of money to be made from spamming, then a hit man might have some impact. However since neither of those are true, you have proposed nothing more than a panicky, feel-good solution. You might as well propose rounding them up and putting them on a spaceship with a course for the sun.

There is a limited supply of spammers. The number is somewhere around 6.5 Billion, but it is limited
Suddenly the problem is more manageable than you think.

So you are willing to murder billions of people to make yourself feel better? That is an interesting approach there...

At no point did I propose actually dealing with the spammers directly, as you are trying to do.

No, you simply wring your hands and make excuses as to why you can't deal with them. Allowing them free reign to continue to spam, without any consequences, from places you won't go to. Yup, that sure is a solution.

You haven't demonstrated any interest in solutions to stop spam that don't involve murder. I have outlined what needs to be done to stop spam. But since it doesn't correlate with your pro-murder stance there is no reason to expect you would be interested in it anyways.

You are wrong on that account as well. Many spammers are the leaders of companies (which send spam) and network with many other capitalists (some of whom pay for them to send out spam on their behalf). They may be many things but antisocial is not one of them. And they are sending spam from places where it is legal to do so; they don't see themselves above the law, they just don't agree with US law.

Um, this is where you are wrong. Spammers don't use their own equipment to spam, or else RBLs would work. They steal other people's equipment and services to send their spam. In the old days, they used Open Relays to send their spam, and when those closed, they made spambots.

Do yourself a favor, go back and re-read the statement you thought you were replying to. At no point did I say that the spammers were using their own equipment; I said they had their own companies. The two are not necessarily directly tied.

Though really, you should just quit now, while you are way, way, way, way, behind. You've told us you are pro-murder, and that is accepted as your stance. The mature part of the world knows that your stance will never solve the problem. If you can't accept that and you are unwilling to actually read anything from someone who disagrees with you then there is no purpose in continuing this discussion.

I've argued since then, that what they were doing is "theft of services", same as plugging in an extension cord to the electrical socket I have outside my house. Just because it is there, isn't locked up, doesn't mean anyone can use it

So if someone plugged in something to an outlet outside your house you would support having them murdered as well? Fascinating. Who else would you like to have murdered? I wouldn't be surprised to find out that I am rapidly climbing that list today as well.

So you propose then to spend money to break laws in other countries in order to make yourself more content about what people in other countries are doing that affects you? I'm glad people at your level of crazy aren't in charge of our country. Your idea is about as reasonable as the suggestion that executing Bernie Madoff would end the recession.

So, you propose that you allow another country to dictate the economic harm caused by people within their country to go .... without .... any consequences? I'm sorry, but that is actually legitimate reason to go to war (unlike fake WMD claims).

First of all, there is a huge difference between a spammer living in your country and protecting a spammer. And in case you haven't noticed, spamming is not a state-sponsored activity from any country AFAIK.

More importantly, though, your claim of economic harm is questionable at best. Sure there is money spent on dealing with the spam problem but it isn't that significant. And if you wanted to bill a country for spam, who would you bill? Really, the country where the spammer lives is likely responsible for only a minute share of the spam itself. The systems on the botnet are spread all over the world. And the spamvertised domain (which is your money source) is likely in a different country than the spammer. And that domain was likely registered through a registrar in yet another country. What will you do about those countries? Are you going to run around and murder people in those countries as well?

If Russia thinks that it is all giggles and grins or worse, is incapable of dealing with the problem, then why shouldn't we deal with it for them? Because they might not like it?

If you honestly think that Russia is the primary culprit in the spam problem, then you really don't know squat about the problem.

Lawless countries who don't care about their neighbors welfare

You mean like how the US doesn't care about Cuba?

But by all means, bend over and take it, if you like.

I'm having a hard time believing that you have read anything I have said.

Don't Fuck with me, I don't like it.

Oooh, ending with an F-bomb, after offering to murder billions of people. You are truly a class act sir.

Re:Completely the WRONG tactic (1)

maudin8 (1532265) | more than 3 years ago | (#30288808)

It's great to see "one of those guys". You know the kind of guy that doesn't state an opinion on the subject per se, but instead just talks about anothers post....wait......crap......

Re:Completely the WRONG tactic (1)

DavidTC (10147) | more than 3 years ago | (#30287814)

We don't need capital punishment, or other such things.

We just need to enforce the laws exactly as they stand. It's something like a minimum of six months in prison for each access, so in practice spammers would end up in prison for thousands of years.

Of course, parole and good behavior would mean they could get out in 200-300 years...we're not heartless.

That the risk/reward structure is so far out of wack is very puzzling. You think some state DA would have a lot of fun arresting one of these guys and charging (and convicting them) of the thousands of unauthorized access made in that state.

Can you imagine the ads they would run for reelection based on their conviction ratio? 'On average, DA in this state have a 80% conviction rate of about 300 felonies. I managed to convict people of 99.92% of the 3000 felony charges I bought. And I did it with the same budget. Reelect me in 2010...'

No, it's not an economic problem (2, Insightful)

Animats (122034) | more than 3 years ago | (#30287522)

spam is an economic problem

No, it's not. Not since all the ways to do it without committing felonies were stopped. Spamming today is organized crime.

Pay attention here... (0)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 3 years ago | (#30287760)

spam is an economic problem

No, it's not. Not since all the ways to do it without committing felonies were stopped. Spamming today is organized crime.

But why is the spam sent out? The answer is extremely simple.

Economics

Spam is sent because it is profitable. No matter what you tell yourself, spam isn't sent to you to piss you off, flood your inbox, waste your time, or anything like that. Spam is sent to make money.

Hence spam is an economic problem, and if you want to truly deal with it, you need an economic solution. If spamming ceases to be profitable, then there will cease to be spam. The spammers just want to get paid, that's all.

Re:Pay attention here... (1)

DavidTC (10147) | more than 3 years ago | (#30288252)

Almost all crimes are economic problems, you loon.

Re:Pay attention here... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30289242)

You cannot increase the cost of sending spam without increasing the cost of sending legitimate communications. The 'economic' cure is worse than the disease.

Re:Pay attention here... (2, Insightful)

Jedi Alec (258881) | more than 4 years ago | (#30295166)

Economics

Spam is sent because it is profitable. No matter what you tell yourself, spam isn't sent to you to piss you off, flood your inbox, waste your time, or anything like that. Spam is sent to make money.

Hence spam is an economic problem, and if you want to truly deal with it, you need an economic solution. If spamming ceases to be profitable, then there will cease to be spam. The spammers just want to get paid, that's all.

Houses are burglared because it is profitable. No matter what you tell yourself, burglary isn't committed to piss you off, piss on your bed, scare your dog or anything like that. Burglaries are committed to make money.

Hence burglary is an economic problem, and if you want to truly deal with it, you need an economic solution. If burglary ceases to be profitable, then there will cease to be burglaries. The burglers just want to get paid, that's all.

Bonus points for saying that out loud at a decent pace without tripping over your words ;-)

Re:No, it's not an economic problem (1)

DavidTC (10147) | more than 3 years ago | (#30288532)

You are 100 correct.

Antispam laws were useful in exactly one way: They require 'legit' spam to be identifiable. That in and of itself was completely pointless in solving the problem.

What it did accomplish, though, was to make it where we could find 'legit' companies, and either get their ISP to cut them off, or get their ISP's ISP to cut their ISP off, etc.

So, ironically, laws that were asserted would make some forms of spamming legal have entirely resulted in 'legit' spam going away.

A lot of people still think it's 1998 and spamming is still some quasilegal thing going on, which results in completely moronic discussions here about free speech and CAN-SPAM.

Those people need to be hit with a cluebat. So here it is:
PLEASE READ THIS BEFORE COMMENTING ON SPAMMING OR YOU ARE WRONG:

Almost no spam, whatsoever, is legal. And it has nothing to do with spamming laws.

It is because almost every single spam, 99% of the stuff actually defined as unsolicited bulk email (And not things people signed up for and and forget, or newsletters people didn't opt out of when giving their email.) is 100%, absolutely, unquestionable illegal, sent via an illegally hijacked computer, thus committing a felony.

PERIOD.

This isn't subject to debate, this isn't some esoteric debate about UCE vs. UBE, or free speech, or opt-out vs. opt-in vs. confirmed out-in. Almost every single message, 99.99999% of the spam out there, as part of the sending process, including committing a felony that has nothing to do with 'spamming'. A felony, I might add, that is almost certainly a felony in any random jurisdiction anywhere in the world.

Re:Completely the WRONG tactic (1)

DavidTC (10147) | more than 3 years ago | (#30287704)

Well, yes, but mugging is also an economic problem. Something like three quarters of all crimes are economically based.

I don't really see what that has to do with anything.

Re:Damn moronic 'anti-spam' laws. (1)

Trailrunner7 (1100399) | more than 3 years ago | (#30286050)

According to the original documentation [spamhaus.org] , 'In early 2008, a security company identified one botnet -- which it dubbed "Mega-D" -- that sent sparn promoting Affking's VPXL and King Replica products as the worst botnet in the world, accounting for 32% of all spam.'

The Mega-D [wikipedia.org] botnet consisted at least 264,784 [softpedia.com] computers.

That's 264,784 UNAUTHORIZED COMPUTER ACCESS FELONIES.

Why the FUCK are we 'fining' someone who committed at least 264,784 felonies? We invade goddamn countries and charge people with war crimes for that level of criminality!

Anti-spam laws are nonsense. Forget the damn anti-spam laws. Lock them up for the felonies they're committing. Extradition would be a lot easier, too. (Of course, we could just find a few hundred IPs this guy hijacked in Australia, turn them over, and have him locked up there his entire life, instead.)

The laws are completely useless and always have been. They were passed to make consumers think that government is doing something. But the extradition and prosecution is a lot harder than it sounds, even when the criminal is in a friendly country like Australia. It takes forever and costs a lot of money, so the law enforcement agencies pass.

but (0, Offtopic)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 3 years ago | (#30286408)

but saddam gassed his own computers

Re:Damn moronic 'anti-spam' laws. (1)

shentino (1139071) | more than 3 years ago | (#30286552)

Why aren't we? ...that's a good question actually, and I think I might have a few answers.

Spammers will always have safe harbor in countries that hate the US...countries that might actually be happy to let the spammers do the dirty work of flipping the bird to the americans for them.

Also, all the advertisers pushing their products by spam obviously are profiting or they wouldn't be using spam as a medium of advertising.

Not to mention that exchange fees net the credit card co's a handsome profit...and they also have a powerful lobby machine, at least one good enough to push through their pet changes to the bankruptcy laws.

ISPs that sign pink contracts can profit handsomely from spammers as well.

So there's quite a few people with a vested interest in the deluge of spam continuing, some of which can quite effectively hold enforcement actions hostage.

Re:Damn moronic 'anti-spam' laws. (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 3 years ago | (#30286982)

Did he actually commit unauthorized access? Wouldn’t that depend on whether he created the botnet, or merely rented it?

Re:Damn moronic 'anti-spam' laws. (1)

vux984 (928602) | more than 3 years ago | (#30287824)

Did he actually commit unauthorized access? Wouldn't that depend on whether he created the botnet, or merely rented it?

Does it really matter?

If mean, I could steal a car, or I could knowingly rent one from a group of car thieves... either way I'd be guilty of something.

Re:Damn moronic 'anti-spam' laws. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30288072)

Did he actually commit unauthorized access? Wouldn’t that depend on whether he created the botnet, or merely rented it?

Even if he just rented it he's illegally accessing the system, he's just not the first one.

Re:Damn moronic 'anti-spam' laws. (1)

DavidTC (10147) | more than 3 years ago | (#30288118)

That would just makes it conspiracy to commit unauthorized computer access.

But not 'creating' the botnet doesn't help. If he used the network to send out spam, or for any reason, that was unauthorized access.

If you watch someone break into a computer (and know they broke in) and they step away from the keyboard and let you use it, tada, you just also committed unauthorized computer access.

In the older days, oddly enough, there was actually a legal defense here. Worms would leap from computer to computer, installing port forwarding software that other people could use 'without realizing' such proxies were installed without permission.

But as this became a big business, it stopped working that way, and it turned into botnets that connect back to some central hub, or some decentralized control structure, but the point is, the only people who could get in were the creators of the botnet and people who those creators granted access.

Ergo, everyone who uses a botnet is using it knowing fully what's going on, as opposed to the legal loophole 'I thought J. Random User's computer was just running a public access proxy'.

Granted, in theory the spammer could have 'leased access' to a botnet he thought was legal, but a) such legal botnets for sending mail do not actually exist, so it's hard to assert he thought he was purchasing a product that isn't real, and b) that's what search warrants are for...I'm sure at some point the prosecution will be able to prove he knew what was going on.

And then, even if he didn't send any commands directly to botnet, if he paid someone to send commands to a botnet that he knew was illegal, it was conspiracy to commit such access. You can't pay people to commit felonies for you and walk away free!

Re:Damn moronic 'anti-spam' laws. (1)

Interoperable (1651953) | more than 3 years ago | (#30287596)

I'd say an appropriate punishment would be community service. We could make him write GPL'd code for a distributed computing project dedicated to advancing various scientific goals. On one hand, he's clearly had experience with distributed computing. On the other hand:

Dear freind;

Warm salutations and delicious felicitations to you. I am a Nigerian proffesor trying to solve caancer. If you can help I will transfer $1M to you on complting the project. Please send me your IP aderres and open ports 11-61234 on you firewall if you want the moeny. it is very urgent tha you you do not hesitate or i may not be able to pay you the money. If are intrsted send me your bank account information and I will email you the executabel.

Heartfelt sympathies and salivating wiahes, Lance Atkinson.

Re:Damn moronic 'anti-spam' laws. (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 3 years ago | (#30287764)

That's 264,784 UNAUTHORIZED COMPUTER ACCESS FELONIES.

Why the FUCK are we 'fining' someone who committed at least 264,784 felonies? We invade goddamn countries and charge people with war crimes for that level of criminality!

One word: XCP. Far worse than spammers pwning your PC, but nobody spent a day in jail over it.

Re:Damn moronic 'anti-spam' laws. (1)

mjwx (966435) | more than 4 years ago | (#30292410)

Why the FUCK are we 'fining' someone who committed at least 264,784 felonies? We invade goddamn countries and charge people with war crimes for that level of criminality!

Because jailing people cost money, yes you could make him pay for his own imprisonment with that fine but if you do that what money would be left over for jailing pot smokers and fighting pointless wars.

My question is why hasn't Australia arrested and at least fined this guy. If Senator Conjob put half the effort he put into the internet censorship scheme into nailing this guy we wouldn't be having the conversation.

Re:Damn moronic 'anti-spam' laws. (1)

rastoboy29 (807168) | more than 4 years ago | (#30294954)

And we're extraditing an Englishman who embarrassingly hacked some government websites looking for UFO's.

Madness.

A fine? Seriously? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30285630)

What the fuck is a fine going to do? You think the kingpin of the LARGEST SPAM OPERATION IN THE WORLD doesn't have $16 million lying around? He'll pay the fine and go back to making more than that a week.

All we're doing is teaching spammers that, even if we do find out who they are and successfully convict them, they'll still just get a slap on the wrist. Put the fucker in jail and let him rot.

Quick question (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30285636)

Where exactly does the 16 million go? Does the federal government get it simply because they have to jurisdiction to make said case? Shouldn't it go to the people who were actually subject to the damages caused by the spam?

Wait, who am I kidding...

Re:Quick question (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 3 years ago | (#30287948)

The fine money goes to the sovereign (also known as: state, crown or prince). In effect is will be used for the benefit of all citizens of the state.

Re:Quick question (2, Insightful)

jez9999 (618189) | more than 3 years ago | (#30288466)

5 minutes of US DoD operational costs?

New Zealand Finally Gets With The Program? (2, Interesting)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 3 years ago | (#30285766)

For a while, the likes of Leo Kuvayev and his cronies were taking advantage of the lax laws in New Zealand and purchasing their spamming (and spamvertised) domains there. It took quite some time to get the New Zealanders to distance themselves from the profit of those crimes, now it is encouraging to see they are taking a more active anti-spam stance.

Its too bad that in the end this all won't be worth squat.

Re:New Zealand Finally Gets With The Program? (1)

alrassed (1690966) | more than 3 years ago | (#30291152)

Re:New Zealand Finally Gets With The Program? (1)

Kalriath (849904) | more than 4 years ago | (#30292878)

What the fuck are you talking about? Buying domains has nothing to do with the spam - and it's up to the registrars if they want to take on the responsibility for domains purchased from them not being used for spam. Laws don't change that one bit - in fact you could go ahead and buy 155,000 domains from GoDaddy tomorrow and spam content on them... would you be talking about the USAs lax laws then? No? Surprise!

Re:New Zealand Finally Gets With The Program? (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 4 years ago | (#30293130)

What the fuck are you talking about?

I'm not convinced you have any idea what you are talking about.

Buying domains has nothing to do with the spam

You are dead wrong. For many, many, cases, buying domains is intensely tied to spam. How do you advertise a website without a domain name? Sure, you can do it, but the credibility is missing. Even more so, you can change the DNS record quickly for a domain, so that if your ISP kicks you out you can still get customers by the spam you sent out.

On top of that are also the domains registered for name services for the spamvertised domains themselves. In other words, domains has a lot to do with spam, whether you realize it or not.

Effective (1)

earlymon (1116185) | more than 3 years ago | (#30286172)

Now that they've cut the head off the Hydra, life should be good.

Re:Effective (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30291472)

The problem is this Hydra has a brother in the spamming business named Shane.

Use the botnet to send a Nigerian 'hit' spam (1)

schwit1 (797399) | more than 3 years ago | (#30286448)

I'm sure some idiot will think it's real, all you need is one. Offer $5M for his head in a box.

Who cares, get the people who send me junk mail (0)

FunkyELF (609131) | more than 3 years ago | (#30286676)

Do I really care about SPAM?
Not nearly as much as I do junk mail.
Why? I pay for my junk mail.
It is delivered for next to nothing by the United States Postal Service.
I pay taxes therefor I am actually paying for the delivery of this garbage.
They are just like spam, they try to look legitimate to trick you into opening them.
Also, they are more hazardous to the environment than spam.
I get NetFlix. If I don't have a new netflix due in the mail I don't get my mail. Why... because ALL of it is garbage.
I pay all my bills online. My car payment, everything. It is all garbage.

Re:Who cares, get the people who send me junk mail (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30286978)

I have not opened my mail box in years. Eventually the post office just gets tired of it and stops delivery altogether including junk mail. Not even the IRS can find me. Just a minute, I hear a knock at the door ... COME OUT WITH YOUR HANDS UP THIS IS THE POLICE ...

Re:Who cares, get the people who send me junk mail (1)

joeyblades (785896) | more than 3 years ago | (#30287094)

You can generally opt out of most junk mail (http://www.privacyrights.org/fs/fs4-junk.htm). Trying to opt out of spam typically gets you more spam.

And you're confused if you think you don't pay for spam. You pay for your internet service. Some of this cost is for bandwidth consumed by spam, some is for storage of spam, some is for spam blocking, etc.. I've seen estimates that suggests that 20%-30% of your internet costs are for spam... even if it never makes it into your inbox.

RecycleDirect (3, Interesting)

Animats (122034) | more than 3 years ago | (#30287234)

The USPS should offer RecycleDirect service. With RecycleDirect, you specify which classes of mail are automatically forwarded to the regional mixed paper recycling center nearest the sender. RecycleDirect mail will be diverted at the first sorting post office directly to the recycling center.

Re:Who cares, get the people who send me junk mail (1)

Bigbutt (65939) | more than 3 years ago | (#30287782)

That's ok. You're also paying for SPAM. From ISP costs on down to the people who are scammed out of their life savings and go bankrupt (raising rates) or can't afford to take care of themselves so we do.

[John]

Your data are incorrect (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 3 years ago | (#30288256)

I pay for my junk mail.
It is delivered for next to nothing by the United States Postal Service.
I pay taxes therefor I am actually paying for the delivery of this garbage.

Actually you don't. The USPS is self-supporting. Since its reorganization into an independent organization, the USPS has become self-sufficient and has not received taxpayer-dollars since the early 1980s [wikipedia.org]

Cell with Roman Polanski? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30286714)

If we extradite him, could we possibly put him in a cell with Roman Polanski and put him in a little gingham dress?

FYI (2)

w0mprat (1317953) | more than 3 years ago | (#30286820)

Queensland is in Australia, not New Zealand, he formerly lived in N.Z. and like most NZers in trouble with the law, moved to Australia. Australia does have a extradition treaty with the U.S.

Re:FYI (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30287526)

and like most NZers in trouble with the law, moved to Australia.

I'm sorry, but that is utter rubbish.

Say Hi to Peter. Message from a Kiwi (1)

Master Moose (1243274) | more than 3 years ago | (#30288386)

and like most NZers in trouble with the law, moved to Australia. Australia does have a extradition treaty with the U.S.

Oh, so you know Peter then. Say hi to him for me please will you

Re:Say Hi to Peter. Message from a Kiwi (1)

mjwx (966435) | more than 4 years ago | (#30292434)

Oh, so you know Peter then. Say hi to him for me please will you

So Costello was one of you?

We already knew about Crowe, he's typically in trouble with the law.

Re:FYI (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30291390)

New Zealanders enjoy visa-less entry into Australia. The Australian authorities have the right to revoke a specific NZers entry if they fail to meet character requirements.

I suggest the Australian authorities to examine this persons actions and determine whether he meets the character requirement necessary to remain in Australia.

PLUs 2,1 TROLL) (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30287114)

sho0t the lOudest

Sell, Sell, Sell (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30287164)

Since their advertising is ending. Sell your Viagra and Cialis stock today. And what about that poor guy in South Africa with all that Bank money. Who will help him.

Absolute Right to Freedom of Speech? NO. (1)

MarkvW (1037596) | more than 3 years ago | (#30288832)

There are limitations that must be applied to freedom of speech in a civilized society and the limitation of abusive spam speech is one.

This ought to establish that free speech is not an absolute right--it is a right that must be limited in some circumstances. The scope and manner of those limitations on free speech are a good indicator of the basic freedom and health of that society imposing them.

I hate abusive spammers and I favor the limitation of their freedom to speak to me with abusive spam that I do not want to receive!

Re:Absolute Right to Freedom of Speech? NO. (1)

AlexLibman (785653) | more than 4 years ago | (#30291262)

The only limits to one's rights should be the rights of other human beings, and the one common limitation for freedom of speech is property rights. It is the property owner(s) who should decide who can come on his property, whether standing on a soapbox with a megaphone is allowed or not, and whether one is allowed to yell "fire". There is no such thing as a "positive right" to force someone to pay for your lunch, to prevent someone from talking about you on their property, and so on. It is your responsibility to register your property, put up warning signs if you don't want trespassers, and so on. You, not "mommy government", is responsible for configuring your servers to behave how you want them to behave!

A sad day for Internet freedom... (1)

AlexLibman (785653) | more than 3 years ago | (#30291076)

The problem of spam had a number of very simple technological solutions. Instead the government had to get involved...

Whenever a problem is solved through the initiation of force, the collective mob grows stronger and the individual grows weaker...

Unsolicited e-mails today, doubleplusungoodthinkmails tomorrow!

Be like him, Just Get Us The Money ! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30297550)

I don't care of they get him on U.S. soil or not - just get the dang money, and distribute $1,000.00 of it to every American who is online, to help pay for our lost time and money in dealing with spam, spam-filters, white lists, black lists, lost legitimate emails due to the above mentioned spam filters, the aggravation of not being able to use port 25 anymore... it's a long list.

And $ 1,000.00 each is probably letting him off easy.

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