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Canadian Spammer Fined Over $1 Billion

timothy posted about 4 years ago | from the get-poor-quick-scheme dept.

Spam 379

innocent_white_lamb writes "A man has been fined ONE BEELYUN DOLLARS (yes, really) for sending 4,366,386 spam messages that were posted on Facebook. He was fined $100 for each message, and including punitive damages he now owes $1,068,928,721.46. A ruling by a US District Court judge in San Jose, California has now been upheld by the Quebec Superior Court (the defendant lives in Montreal)."

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Now he's sending out spam.. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33803612)

Asking for help paying for it!

Re:Now he's sending out spam.. (5, Funny)

Tablizer (95088) | about 4 years ago | (#33803622)

You think that Nigerian prince will help him out?

Re:Now he's sending out spam.. (1)

lavardo (683333) | about 4 years ago | (#33803864)

He's going to write a check for $billion pieces of dirt.

I don't feel sorry, but... (4, Insightful)

wealthychef (584778) | about 4 years ago | (#33803628)

I just have to think -- when was the last time a large corporation was fined $1 billion for anything? This has to be just because he had a crappy lawyer or something. Justice quality depends on personal resources in America, no doubt about it.

Re:I don't feel sorry, but... (2, Insightful)

houstonbofh (602064) | about 4 years ago | (#33803700)

I just have to think -- when was the last time a large corporation was fined $1 billion for anything? This has to be just because he had a crappy lawyer or something. Justice quality depends on personal resources in America, no doubt about it.

The real question is when have they paid it... There have been fines. (Reduced on appeal)

Re:I don't feel sorry, but... (5, Informative)

rtb61 (674572) | about 4 years ago | (#33803952)

In this case, the spammer went with the, no lawyer defence and didn't even bother to turn up. Big catch with that is "Guerbuez fooled its users into providing him with their user names and passwords" and that is interfering with a computer network a criminal offence. The evidence for which has now been established in a civil court and the spammer has show complete contempt for that court not only be freely admitting his guilt but also by mocking the fine by saying he will declare bankrupt and keep all the criminal proceeds from that crime.

This then forces US law to intervene and seek criminal prosecution for interfering with a computer network, via obtaining user name and passwords under false pretences and using that to fraudulently misrepresent the products he was advertising as being recommended by friends of the victims and also interfering with those 'friends' computer network.

You have the right to remain silent, remember those words when you want to get rich quick by breaking the law and don't make a ass out of yourself by publicly bragging about and defending your criminal activities.

Re:I don't feel sorry, but... (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33804108)

Declaring bankruptcy doesn't do a single thing to shield you when there are criminal charges involved.

Re:I don't feel sorry, but... (4, Insightful)

biryokumaru (822262) | about 4 years ago | (#33803960)

No, the real question is how the hell does $100 per message times 4.4 million messages equal $1 billion. $600 million in "punitive damages?"

Re:I don't feel sorry, but... (1)

Greyfox (87712) | about 4 years ago | (#33803726)

Big O managed to squeeze BP for 20 of them. He didn't even need more than a stern look. I suppose technically that wasn't a "fine".

Re:I don't feel sorry, but... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33803886)

I'll believe it when the money is paid. How much time does BP get to produce the money? Under what circumstances would they not have to pay? Nobody writes a check just because Big O said to.

Obama and BP needed a public relations victory, so the most expedient thing to do was for BP to offer a huge settlement. The loopholes could be discussed after the cameras were turned off.

Re:I don't feel sorry, but... (4, Informative)

Greyfox (87712) | about 4 years ago | (#33804290)

4 years if I recall the terms of the agreement, and the first installment is already being doled out to people along the coast who were affected by the spill.

Re:I don't feel sorry, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33804032)

Big Orgasm?

Re:I don't feel sorry, but... (1)

Greyfox (87712) | about 4 years ago | (#33804284)

After 8 years of Bush, I think you deserve one!

http://www.jerseys-2010.com (0, Offtopic)

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Re: [subject removed] (2, Funny)

zblack_eagle (971870) | about 4 years ago | (#33804052)

Somehow parent seems strangely relevant

Re: [subject removed] (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33804192)

Because they're posting bad merchandise replicas using a bad HTML replica?

Re:I don't feel sorry, but... (4, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | about 4 years ago | (#33803770)

I just have to think -- when was the last time a large corporation was fined $1 billion for anything? This has to be just because he had a crappy lawyer or something.

If my lawyer had come and said "Great news, I got your fine reduced from $1 billion to $10 million" I'd say "Great, that's like reduing my 20000 year sentence to a 200 year sentence." Corporations try their best to avoid a billion dollar fine because they might just have the money to pay it. If my lawyer wasted his time doing the same, he would be a crappy lawyer.

Re:I don't feel sorry, but... (1)

lavagolemking (1352431) | about 4 years ago | (#33803820)

At least spamming carries a stiffer penalty for copyright infringement. Now if we could just work all these individual fines down to a level less than corporations are required to pay...

Re:I don't feel sorry, but... (3, Funny)

euphemistic (1850880) | about 4 years ago | (#33803878)

I wonder how much the fine would have been if each spam message contained a song "owned" by one of the MAFIAA. You could generate a fine larger than the entire money supply of the whole world put together. This feels almost like a challenge now.

Let's see... (3, Insightful)

lavagolemking (1352431) | about 4 years ago | (#33804128)

I wonder how much the fine would have been if each spam message contained a song "owned" by one of the MAFIAA. You could generate a fine larger than the entire money supply of the whole world put together. This feels almost like a challenge now.

4,366,386 messages x $200,000 = $873,277,200,000 or $873.3 billion. Actually, it's only a couple hundred times more than what he owes now, which is more than the total amount of money the U.S. government gave the banks in the TARP [wikipedia.org] program, but still just under 1/3 of the U.S. national debt as of October 2009 [usatoday.com] . Are there any economists out there who can tell us if this amount of money is printed (Canada or U.S.)? Would it be theoretically possible for him to walk into the court, and pay in cash?

Re:I don't feel sorry, but... (1)

Dr Herbert West (1357769) | about 4 years ago | (#33804184)

Can some math types work that out? How many spams + most expensive songs to "steal" == entire (current) GDP of the ENTIRE WORLD.

Spammers, are you listening? The gauntlet has been motherfuckin thrown!

Re:I don't feel sorry, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33803848)

Justice quality depends on personal resources in America

ITYM corporate resources.

Re:I don't feel sorry, but... (1)

Dachannien (617929) | about 4 years ago | (#33804178)

Eli Lilly agreed in 2009 to pay $515M, regarded as the "largest criminal fine paid by a single corporation in federal prosecution". Along with that went a $100M forfeiture of assets and a $800M civil settlement with the US and several state governments, for a grand total of $1.415 billion.

http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/2009/January/09-civ-038.html [justice.gov]

Also, Hoffman-La Roche agreed to pay $500M in federal criminal fines back in 1999.

Re:I don't feel sorry, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33804232)

I will wake up only when the annual fines to the US government reach one trillion dollars. The problem of national debt .. solved.

Mod summary up (1, Funny)

Trip6 (1184883) | about 4 years ago | (#33803638)

One BEEYLUN DOLLARS! And Sharks with frickin' laser beams!

Re:Mod summary up (1)

jimmydevice (699057) | about 4 years ago | (#33803750)

The previous ipv4/ipv6 hand wringing exercise used the obviously SI unit "zillions".
This EU bastardization of our beloved Footlong per Fortnight and LOC (Library of congress)
standard measurement units must be stopped!
 

who knew? (5, Funny)

Wingman 5 (551897) | about 4 years ago | (#33803642)

Who knew that Billion was spelled differently in Canada, maybe it is like color and colour.

Re:who knew? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33803776)

Who knew that Billion was spelled differently in Canada, maybe it is like color and colour.

Yep, here in Canada, it's correctly spelled "billioun".

Re:who knew? (1)

gmhowell (26755) | about 4 years ago | (#33803906)

Who knew that Billion was spelled differently in Canada, maybe it is like color and colour.

Yep, here in Canada, it's correctly spelled "billioun".

I thought you spelt it "bouillon"?

Man I'm hungry...

Re:who knew? (4, Funny)

md65536 (670240) | about 4 years ago | (#33804092)

I thought you spelt it "bouillon"?

Ah oui, but jusque en Kebecke. Here en le Montreal we often say "Ehpardonez moi, allez vous un bouillon dolare? Non? Moi aussi."

Re:who knew? (1)

syousef (465911) | about 4 years ago | (#33804056)

Who knew that Billion was spelled differently in Canada, maybe it is like color and colour.

Well maybe it has a whole other meaning. Unless he has that sort of money, they might as well have 12 unicorns and 3 pixies. Seriously what even happens to this indvidiual now that he owes a fine he can't pay? Jail? Bankruptcy (or doesn't that discharge legal fines)?

Good. (4, Insightful)

blhack (921171) | about 4 years ago | (#33803670)

This is something that I've tried and tried and tried to explain to some of my friends that work in marketing. When you are sending spam, you are literally using somebody *else's* property in a way that they don't want you to use it in order to give them messages.

This should be looked at no differently than causing unused speakers in my house to play radio advertisements when I want them turned off.

You send spam, and it's taking up a limited resource (disk, bandwidth, power, man hours, etc.) to your end and against the will of the recipient. I really hope that there are more cases like this.

Re:Good. (4, Insightful)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | about 4 years ago | (#33803938)

This is something that I've tried and tried and tried to explain to some of my friends that work in marketing.

"It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!"
--Upton Sinclair

Re:Good. (5, Insightful)

Garwulf (708651) | about 4 years ago | (#33803954)

It's even worse than that in this case. According to the article, he was compromising other people's accounts using fake websites, and then using those accounts to send his spam so that it would appear to be from their friends. So, it's not just spam in this case - it's fraud and identity theft.

If it were up to me, he would also be going to jail.

Re:Good. (1)

RNLockwood (224353) | about 4 years ago | (#33804050)

... causing unused speakers in my house to play radio advertisements when I want them turned off.

Hasn't that already been patented?

Re:Good. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33804118)

I see what you mean, and I agree that spam is horrible, but I cannot help but feel sorry for this guy.
I mean, a billion dollars!?

I've always favoured fair spam sentencing (5, Interesting)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | about 4 years ago | (#33804168)

I will agree with spammers that an individual spam is not a major imposition. However, it does cost people something. E-mail isn't free, you have to maintain bandwidth to receive it (a double digit percentage of our university's usage is e-mail in various forms) and it does take time for people to delete it. Not a lot, but some. So, let's be fair, we'll say a 0.1 cent fine and 0.1 second of jail or probation time for each message. Oh what's that? You sent 1 trillion spam messages? Sorry, guess you are fucked then. Should have considered the scale of your operation.

I like it because it would really hammer home that the problem with spam is the scale, and that punishments would scale with that. So suppose you spam your company's mailing list a few times and rather than ask you to knock it off, your boss presses charges. Ok well you sent 10 messages to 1,000 people so 10,000 messages. You are on the hook for $10 in fines and about 16 minutes of probation. A mild slap on the wrist, basically, unlikely they'd even prosecute. However you are a major pharmaceutical spammer that has sent out 3 billion messages? That'll be $3 million please and we'll see you in about 9 and a half years.

I realize that the way the laws are structured now such a thing couldn't actually happen, I just like the idea. An individual unwanted e-mail message is not a big deal, that is true, it is the scale and thus the scale should determine the punishment.

Re:Good. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33804172)

Ok, but 1 billion? Fuck BP latest desaster/accident by ignoring/cutting saffety measures (thanks to bush, cheney and lobbys de-regulations favouring companies cost savings as if they don't make already enough proffit was a recipie for a huge disaster) could only be fined by a max of 25! million.

Compare that to a ludicrous 1 billion for spam who at worst, clogged some bandidth and likely didn't even annoyed as many people as you think, since most likely, a large percentage of that said spam was filtered.

He's not very worried (4, Funny)

Warll (1211492) | about 4 years ago | (#33803678)

Don't worry that only works out to about twelve Canadian dollars.

Re:He's not very worried (1)

fyoder (857358) | about 4 years ago | (#33803736)

Don't worry that only works out to about twelve Canadian dollars.

2002 called. They want their joke back.

Re:He's not very worried (1, Flamebait)

nedlohs (1335013) | about 4 years ago | (#33803862)

What idiots where making jokes about Canadian dollars being worth more than US dollars when the US dollar was at its all time high against the Canadian dollar?

Re:He's not very worried (2, Informative)

fyoder (857358) | about 4 years ago | (#33803914)

Hah, jokes on me. Repeated meme blindness.

Re:He's not very worried (1)

Warll (1211492) | about 4 years ago | (#33803956)

Actually it was the 2008, "USA is bankrupt", version.

At first I was going to use the clbuttic version butt It wasn't ass funny.

Re:He's not very worried (1)

Laxori666 (748529) | about 4 years ago | (#33803748)

Hmm I can't tell if you were trying to make fun of the Canadians for having bad currency and got it wrong, since that'd mean that their currency is incredibly powerful, or if you were making a striking commentary on how the us dollar is screwed. In any case I wanted to reply saying that 1 CAD is worth more than 1 USD nowadays, but it seems to be 1 USD to 1.0159 CAD atm.

Re:He's not very worried (1)

mister_playboy (1474163) | about 4 years ago | (#33803900)

That's correct, inflation has almost gotten us to the point where getting those Canadian coins in your change is a positive rather than a negative. I can't actually spend a $50 or $100 bill in more than half of the stores in my local area, ironic given the ever rising prices for everything.

Perhaps I'll be papering my walls with $20 bills within the next 10 years, ala the Weimar Republic.

Re:He's not very worried (1)

Warll (1211492) | about 4 years ago | (#33803982)

I'm canadian eh so I'm allowed to make these jokes eh, its in our constitution or something eh.

eh.

sure, why not (1)

fyoder (857358) | about 4 years ago | (#33803682)

Spam seems an attractive way of getting a message out because it is so inexpensive per message. Given the volume, the amount per message to act as a deterrent doesn't have to be that high. A buck would probably do it. Though perhaps he's really rich and they wanted a figure that equates with certainty to "all your money". I guess that's not an option when sentencing -- "How much ya got?"

FYI: (1)

lavagolemking (1352431) | about 4 years ago | (#33803922)

$1,068,928,721.46 ÷ 4,366,386 spam messages = $244.80 per message. I know we're probably trying to have a deterrent effect on spam, and it's a LOT lower than copyright fines, but it's still kind of high

Re:FYI: (1)

fyoder (857358) | about 4 years ago | (#33804008)

$1,068,928,721.46 ÷ 4,366,386 spam messages = $244.80 per message.

Yikes. According to the summary, it was $100 per message, plus punitive damages. Those are some punitive damages, esp. considering the per message value is punitive. Unless they believe emails are worth $100 each. In which case I should advise my correspondents to stop emailing me and just send the money instead.

If He Files Bankruptcy ... (2, Interesting)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | about 4 years ago | (#33803690)

If he files bankruptcy, and Facebook doesn't get their billion dollars, can Facebook claim the billion as a 'loss' (a la 'bad debt', 'uncollectable account', etc) and get a tax break out of it?

Re:If He Files Bankruptcy ... (1)

BitterOak (537666) | about 4 years ago | (#33803802)

If he files bankruptcy, and Facebook doesn't get their billion dollars, can Facebook claim the billion as a 'loss' (a la 'bad debt', 'uncollectable account', etc) and get a tax break out of it?

Read the article! He was fined, not sued. Fines aren't dischargable in bankruptcy.

Re:If He Files Bankruptcy ... (1)

Lemmy Caution (8378) | about 4 years ago | (#33804270)

Something that I simply don't know: what actually happens when someone is fined more than they are ever likely to earn in their lifetime? How much gets garnished? How do they eat, pay for shelter, etc.? At some point, I might prefer to just rob a bank and force the state to put a roof over my head and feed me if it happened to me...

um (1)

mrsteveman1 (1010381) | about 4 years ago | (#33803692)

How can a Canadian court "uphold" a ruling from a US district court? Why do Canadian courts even care unless this guy is going to be extradited?

Re:um (3, Insightful)

Libertarian001 (453712) | about 4 years ago | (#33803812)

Possibly they're not "upholding" the US court ruling, but rather, they're not finding contrary to what a foreign court has found. Splitting hairs? Maybe. The one SCOTUS case that I heard oral arguments for (yes, in person) was a jurisdictional issue. A US merchant had already been found against by the Chinese Admiralty, he didn't like it, counter-sued in the US and it made it's way up to SCOTUS. I think it was Ginsberg that came right out and asked why they should create an international incident by "over-ruling" a foreign court. Sharp lady.

Re:um (4, Funny)

biryokumaru (822262) | about 4 years ago | (#33803902)

Am I the only one who always finds it oddly disturbing that the acronym for Supreme Court of the United States looks an awful lot like "scrotum?"

Re:um (3, Insightful)

Rakshasa Taisab (244699) | about 4 years ago | (#33803966)

It's pretty fucking simple this guys... Don't mess it up.

A US court ruling has no power to get anything from the guy as long as he and all his possessions are outside of the US. Before anything happens in Canada a Canadian court needs to look at the case and see if it agrees on the ruling.

Re:um (4, Insightful)

BitterOak (537666) | about 4 years ago | (#33803814)

How can a Canadian court "uphold" a ruling from a US district court? Why do Canadian courts even care unless this guy is going to be extradited?

Because this is a fine rather than a jail sentence, no extradition is necessary. By upholding the ruling, the Canadian court is agreeing to collect the money on behalf of the American court.

Re:um (1)

Rakshasa Taisab (244699) | about 4 years ago | (#33804068)

Are you implying that an extradition for a jail sentence would not need to be processed by the courts?

Re:um (1)

harlows_monkeys (106428) | about 4 years ago | (#33803892)

There are various treaties in place between pairs or groups of nations that cover much of the civilized world and prevent you from escaping debt by fleeing the country in which you incurred the debt. As long as the debt was incurred in a way that is recognized as legitimate in the country you are now in, they will treat it just like any other debt.

Thus, in a case like this pretty much all the Canadian court would ask itself is whether or not, under Canadian standards, the US court legitimately had jurisdiction over the Canadian. If they did, then the judgement is a debt that the Canadian owes, and the Canadian justice system will help the creditor collect it.

BTW, this is also why it is bullshit when some company moves to some other country and claims they did it because product liability lawsuits cost them too much money in the US, but they continue to sell their product in the US. Generally the country they move to will enforce US product liability judgements. The real reason they are moving is for cheaper labor, but saying "we moved to Mexico because we wanted near-slave labor" is a lot worse from a PR point of view than blaming it on trial lawyers. If any company REALLY leaves because of product liability lawsuits, they will also stop selling in the US.

Priorities.. (4, Insightful)

Renraku (518261) | about 4 years ago | (#33803706)

Funny..a company was just fined a few million for (illegal) human experimentation of their bone anchoring glue which resulted in several deaths, but a spammer that didn't cause any physical harm or death is fined a billion dollars. Let's get some file sharers fined for more than the GDP of several small nations combined too, for good measure.

I hate spammers, but you're telling me that a few million spam messages are worth more than several LIVES and ILLEGAL MEDICAL EXPERIMENTATION ON HUMANS?

Re:Priorities.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33803728)

Yes.

Re:Priorities.. (1)

Z34107 (925136) | about 4 years ago | (#33803742)

Funny..a company was just fined a few million for (illegal) human experimentation of their bone anchoring glue which resulted in several deaths, but a spammer that didn't cause any physical harm or death is fined a billion dollars. Let's get some file sharers fined for more than the GDP of several small nations combined too, for good measure. I hate spammers, but you're telling me that a few million spam messages are worth more than several LIVES and ILLEGAL MEDICAL EXPERIMENTATION ON HUMANS?

Absolutely! They found a practical use for lawyers! A discovery of that magnitude is worth a Nobel or two.

Re:Priorities.. (4, Funny)

gmhowell (26755) | about 4 years ago | (#33803918)

Funny..a company was just fined a few million for (illegal) human experimentation of their bone anchoring glue which resulted in several deaths, but a spammer that didn't cause any physical harm or death is fined a billion dollars. Let's get some file sharers fined for more than the GDP of several small nations combined too, for good measure.

I hate spammers, but you're telling me that a few million spam messages are worth more than several LIVES and ILLEGAL MEDICAL EXPERIMENTATION ON HUMANS?

Absolutely! They found a practical use for lawyers! A discovery of that magnitude is worth a Nobel or two.

He said 'experimentation on humans'.

Re:Priorities.. (2, Insightful)

Teancum (67324) | about 4 years ago | (#33803772)

How many lives were impacted by the medical testing and how many lives were impacted by the spamming? I think $100 per person sounds pretty reasonable, and the spammer made a conscious decision to send the messages out to the other million or so people that received the spam. It was his fault, the spammer, that so many messages went out.

At the very least, this ought to make major companies shy away from potential spamming as I'm sure the shareholders would notice a billion dollars leaving the company.

What I wonder here is if or how somebody can bankrupt their way out of a legal obligation like this?

Re:Priorities.. (1)

lavardo (683333) | about 4 years ago | (#33804014)

How many lives were impacted by the medical testing and how many lives were impacted by the spamming? I think $100 per person sounds pretty reasonable,

Yea, $100 marijuana per person sounds like good testing.

Re:Priorities.. (1)

Nursie (632944) | about 4 years ago | (#33803978)

Any company doing illegal human experimentation resulting in deaths should be punished far more than that. People should be in jail for murder.

The spammer, OTOH, made a few million people's lives just that little bit worse, and deserves to be financially ruined.

Re:Priorities.. (4, Funny)

md65536 (670240) | about 4 years ago | (#33804150)

Funny..a company was just fined a few million for (illegal) human experimentation of their bone anchoring glue which resulted in several deaths ...

Oh come on... it's ONLY their bone anchoring glue. I mean, do we even need that? They could have died from anything. Loose bone syndrome. Wandering pelvis. Smoking. Boneitis. All of these are natural causes.

It's a good news/bad news sort of thing (2, Funny)

jhp64 (813449) | about 4 years ago | (#33803708)

From TFA: "He’s also barred from opening a Facebook account."

Re:It's a good news/bad news sort of thing (1)

ickleberry (864871) | about 4 years ago | (#33803930)

That almost makes the $1bn fine worth it

How does this work? (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | about 4 years ago | (#33803712)

A ruling by by a US District Court judge in San Jose, California has now been upheld by the Quebec Superior Court (the defendant lives in Montreal)."

How does that work between countries, especially since both courts seem to be creations of their respective state governments.

Re:How does this work? (3, Informative)

debrain (29228) | about 4 years ago | (#33803936)

Have a look at the concept called "comity".

Re:How does this work? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33803950)

Treaty. American and Canadian diplomats got together at some point, and discussed how to handle these kinds of affairs, which were then ratified by the respective legislatures.

Believe it or not, governments can negotiate a degree of respect and consideration for each other.

Can they contradict the basic principles of government? Some people would say "Yes, that's how X happens" but well, in the case of civil judgments it's not exactly unreasonable.

Re:How does this work? (1)

sed quid in infernos (1167989) | about 4 years ago | (#33803980)

How does that work between countries,

The U.S. and Canada have a way to register judgments issued in one country to be collected in the other. The person seeking to collect has to prove the judgment form the originating country and prove that it is not contrary to the public policy of the country in which collection is sought. The defendant can also use the collection attempt to launch a "collateral attack" and attempt to disprove the judgment, but doing this usually requires showing that the original court lacked jurisdiction or egregiously violated due process. (I've used the American terms - Canadian law has similar concepts but might use slightly different names.)

especially since both courts seem to be creations of their respective state governments.

"U.S. District Court in San Jose" is very probably a U.S. federal court, and the judges in Quebec Superior Court are appointed by the Canadian federal government.

better start responding to those emails (1)

bakamorgan (1854434) | about 4 years ago | (#33803724)

Better start responding to all those emails where they need help transferring money in from those swish bank accounts.

Who knew? (1)

jamrock (863246) | about 4 years ago | (#33804262)

Better start responding to all those emails where they need help transferring money in from those swish bank accounts.

I'm aware that businesses are tailoring services to narrower demographics, but I had no idea that there were financial institutions that catered solely to drag queens.

Heh (1)

inode_buddha (576844) | about 4 years ago | (#33803738)

We all know that he'll prolly never be able to repay it all... but most likely he'll have his wages garnished for the rest of his life. End up working 2 jobs where one job goes to pay off the fine.

Re:Heh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33803890)

Then why work at all when the State can support you? Worse they can do is toss you in a minimum security prison where you don't have to work, either :P

Re:Heh (2, Funny)

lavardo (683333) | about 4 years ago | (#33804078)

I'm sure a security software company could hire him with no problem.

Now thats justice for you, American style!! (1)

mikeiver1 (1630021) | about 4 years ago | (#33803756)

Here this worthless tool sends a bunch of Emails to a bunch of idiots about penis enlargement and gets a fine of one billion plus. On the other hand we have Citibank who misleads investors and regulators about Billions in losses and bad investments and they get a fine of 75 million. That is only a days worth of profits from laundering the drug cartels money. Gotta love the FTC and the courts, they know where the priorities are!

Re:Now thats justice for you, American style!! (2, Informative)

lavardo (683333) | about 4 years ago | (#33804064)

Well, that fine didn't include all their spamming, lame ads & sharing of personal information.

That's too much (2, Insightful)

chebucto (992517) | about 4 years ago | (#33803786)

A 1 billion dollar fine is absurd. First, there's no way he can ever pay it. Second, it is way out of proportion to the harm caused. Third, it undermines respect for the courts by making them look out to lunch, foolish and/or vindictive.

Think about what a billion dollars represents: the lifetime's earnings of a hundreds of well-paid people, or a thousand low-wage people, or the GDP of a small city. Spam sucks, but the damage this guy caused doesn't measure up.

Re:That's too much (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33803920)

Maybe the Facebook TOS mentions that they charge $100/spam? What I don't understand is why anyone would want punitive damage on top of that.

Re:That's too much (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33803926)

too much? come on, only 1 billion isn't so much.. one men in france just had a 4,9billion *euros* fine (6,78billion us dollars..).. only 170,000years his current pay according to the press..

Re:That's too much (1)

mpaulsen (240157) | about 4 years ago | (#33804048)

Well, then the solution is simple. You two get together and come to some agreement on how much he's going to pay you for each email that ends up in one of your inboxes. When you receive an email (or many), send him an itemized invoice and he can send you a payment. If there's a problem, just take him to court with the contract in hand and demand payment.

If he had asked me, I would have agreed to $10 per email -- quite a bargain compared to the $100 (plus damages) he agreed to when he decided to spam.

Re:That's too much (2, Interesting)

slimjim8094 (941042) | about 4 years ago | (#33804140)

Nobody expects him to pay. Even a fine of 1 million dollars (1/1000 of the amount) would be essentially impossible to pay - that's many people's lifetime earnings before expenses.

This is clearly a no-more-fucking-around sort of fine. Whatever they fined him at, he wouldn't be paying it, so might as well use the actual amount to send a message.

Can you say... (1)

madeye the younger (318275) | about 4 years ago | (#33804162)

Punitive damages? Good! I knew that you could. This isn't restitution, where the amount matches some arbitrary measure of costs incurred (harm done). This is to make the punishment so deliberately disproportional to the actual cost/benefit that others avoid the same offense because its such a bad business risk.

Re:That's too much (1)

cynyr (703126) | about 4 years ago | (#33804200)

I think they decided what the punitive damages for a single piece of spam would be, $100-$200, and multiplied by the number he sent out, 4.37 million messages. Seems pretty simple, he did 100-200 worth of damage 4.37 million times. It looks foolish, but on the other hand it doesn't.

The key here is "punitive" a way to make the dollar value go up to make it a deterrent. Like jail time, or loosing a limb, or ... whatever for a crime.

How many spams did he send? (1)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | about 4 years ago | (#33804206)

Divide it down and maybe it is more reasonable. Suppose he sent 1 trillion spam messages, that could be a fine of just 0.1 cents per message sent. A spam message does cause harm. E-mail takes bandwidth to move around and bandwidth costs money. We could save a good bit on bandwidth costs at work if we could eliminate spam. It would save on incoming mail bandwidth, but also on bandwidth when people check their mail from off campus and get a spam message the filter didn't catch.

While the harm of an individual message is low, it is the scale that is the problem. Now I don't know the scale of this guy's operations, but I do know that spam is massive. The amount we get is staggering. It is at least 10:1 spam:real e-mail, probably more, and that is just what our filter catches. If his spam sent ranged in the 10+ billion messages amount, well then the fine per message doesn't look so unreasonable, does it?

Re:That's too much (1)

md65536 (670240) | about 4 years ago | (#33804250)

A 1 billion dollar fine is absurd. First, there's no way he can ever pay it.

It's common to be penalized more than you can pay. It sets a precedent. Such things can also be used to "send a message" to others: Do this, and it's not going to be financially beneficial. If an organization with a lot more money decided to do this, it would hurt.

It's like RIAA's scare tactics, which I think are despicable, but in this case I think it's okay to bankrupt someone who is making money off of scamming a lot of people, and I think it's okay to scare off people who would intentionally plan to harm others.

Missing the target (1)

Voltaris (1916080) | about 4 years ago | (#33803832)

Judgments like this one are missing the target. The real victim is the public, not Facebook. After all, they could have placed some kind of limitation that prevent a user of sending more than 5 messages per 30 sec, for instance. That makes me wonder in which case a fine like this could really be to the advantages of the victims. What if it's a company that is sending spam? Frankly, if this case occurs, the company will probably close and some workers will loose their job. Sending spam must be considered a criminal act - the real way "criminal" mean. I think that the only dissuasive punishment are the cold hard prison bars. Something between 5 and 10 years, without the possibility to use a computer for another 5 years. We have to send a clear message and stay away from the economic side of the crime because the only ones who get money in this story are the lawyers.

He's wearing two watches (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33803860)

Horatio would approve.

Where's my money? (2, Interesting)

DeadlyFoez (1371901) | about 4 years ago | (#33803882)

If they "fined" him $100 for each message, then with the 20+ messages that I got because of him means that the US government should be giving ME that money. I'm the one who got spammed, why is the government getting money for what he did wrong to me? That does not make sense.

Re:Where's my money? (1)

Clandestine_Blaze (1019274) | about 4 years ago | (#33804148)

Well according to the article, the court ruled that he owes Facebook the money, not the government. I guess it makes sense -- he used their network to distribute and profit off of the spam. He did so by tricking users into giving him their login credentials, and once he had that, he would run programs to send out the millions of spam messages. Unfortunately, I don't think anyone will see a dime out of this.

I'm old enough to remember... (1)

steve buttgereit (644315) | about 4 years ago | (#33803984)

... when a billion dollars was real money!

Dear editors, (0, Offtopic)

HamSammy (1716116) | about 4 years ago | (#33803986)

wtf man

Come on, let's at least be professional! It's no wonder that some members and former members of this site bemoan its quality, as well as the quality of its stories. ONE BEELYUN DOLLARS?! Isn't decent English a reasonable expectation from a professional source? It's not even a good joke.

To anyone who meta-moderates and bumps these stories, I thought we we're better than repeating in-jokes.

Also, there's a typo.

Also, I think the billion dollar fine is a bit much. As it's been said before, other lawsuits concerning much graver, more depraved actions and situations come nowhere near this fine, yet they deserve to be at the very least the same. The fine is also not even going to be paid, not in full at least, simply because the defendant does not have the means to pay it. So for all intents and purposes, the fine doesn't even really matter. He should have gotten a reasonable punishment he deserved, and the victims of his actions should be able to see justice served, and in this case, the justice is the full payout of everything legitimately owed to them.

Exempt from bankruptcy (1)

Semptimilius (917640) | about 4 years ago | (#33804146)

Fines are typically exempt from bankruptcy in Canada. I don't know if there are reasonable limits to fines that could cut this down to something that can be paid back, but, if not, essentially the court just forced the guy to pay this for the rest of his life. This is incentive to create a new identity, perhaps get work under the table (maybe criminal, besides the tax evasion).

Corruption (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33804202)

I guarantee you this happened because Facebook somehow influenced the judge so they could get a positive billion dollars on their balance sheet. Accounting is wonderful that way -- you can claim money you don't really have because somebody owes it to you. Nevermind the fact they could never collect on it. The (probably short lived) boost to their various financial metrics will probably net a few million a piece for several of the Facebook execs.

Punitive damages of 632 million?! (1)

goobenet (756437) | about 4 years ago | (#33804212)

So, uh, good for the courts to uphold the fines, but the punitive damages are a little obscene, don't you think? Lets do some cypherin' shall we? 4,366,386 * 100 = $436,638,600 in fines, plus what? a few grand in court fees and filing fees? So the punitive damages caused to Facebook was $632,290,121.46?! Did it really cause that much damage? Or is this FBs new business model to actually turn a profit? I think i can clean up a few million spam messages for $632 million bucks... and i won't charge facebook a dime of that. ;)
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