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A Spamming Attorney Gets Sentenced To 40 Months

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the should-have-to-pay-rent dept.

Spam 131

www.sorehands.com writes "While one spammer, Robert Soloway, gets released on probation, the Feds send another, Robert Smoley, to the slammer for 40 months. I know about Smoley because I tracked him down, and beat him in court. Not only was he an attorney, he still has not lost his license, yet. The IRS contacted me as a result of seeing my web site, and I gladly assisted the IRS in tracking his business. He not only bounced a check on me, but stiffed his local counsel and one of his ISPs."

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131 comments

Man.. (1)

Haedrian (1676506) | more than 3 years ago | (#35398446)

What is it about Roberts?

And someone needs to teach the guy who wrote the website how to attach a .css

Re:Man.. (2, Funny)

airfoobar (1853132) | more than 3 years ago | (#35398574)

They're Dicks.

Sorry, OP was asking for it.

Simple Mail Filter (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35398492)

Just block "Robert S.*ol.*y".

babys et al, unprecedented evile conjuring death (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35398508)

it's (evile) not getting many more of us they inform confidently, although one can see/feel the pain of the mounting losses. ever the strategists, the bips have positioned themselves on almost every square foot of the populated areas of the planet. plus, they outnumber us 'groanups' (they say quipically) 4-5:1, or, by several billions, they politely remind us. aided by the total permanent cooperation of the League of Smelly Infants (another couple billion of them little bundles of peace&quiet), & the increasing support of the (cast adrift?) world+dog 'movement', a more formidable group of lifelovers has never been assembled, in order (cannot be stopped) to rescue us from ourselves.

so, although evile (life0cidal intentions?) has felt comfortably entrenched for about +- a few 1000 years, & even now has plans to 'extinct' many of us, the babys et al are absolutely certain that "they're not leavin' 'till it's even". they also like to remind us again; they have no (0) politics/religion. for most of them, reading & talking is for later, when things are safe for us. see you there?

Re:babys et al, unprecedented evile conjuring deat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35398562)

what is this i don't even

Re:babys et al, unprecedented evile conjuring deat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35401306)

Charlie Sheen? Is that you?

Attorney... sentenced... (4, Funny)

Kingrames (858416) | more than 3 years ago | (#35398558)

"...Attorney... sentenced..."

Victory.

Re:Attorney... sentenced... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35398596)

I thought judges took care of their own... I guess this one must be on the level

Re:Attorney... sentenced... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35399942)

It wasn't a judge on trial, it was attorney, i.e. not one of his own.

Re:Attorney... sentenced... (1)

hldn (1085833) | more than 3 years ago | (#35398664)

what do you call one attorney thrown in jail?

a good start!!
BADUM-TISH.

bounced checks? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35398590)

So you were doing work for a spammer and now you're suddenly all holier-than-thou because he didn't pay you?

I guess you've made a few calls to the BSA in your time, too.

Re:bounced checks? (1)

cduffy (652) | more than 3 years ago | (#35398698)

So you were doing work for a spammer and now you're suddenly all holier-than-thou because he didn't pay you?

I guess you've made a few calls to the BSA in your time, too.

Read the article much?

The payments were for a court-ordered judgement.

Re:bounced checks? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35398742)

Link to the court-ordered judgement, please. I don't think you're following exactly what happened.

Re:bounced checks? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35398916)

Link to the court-ordered judgement, please. I don't think you're following exactly what happened.

I'm starting to think you're trolling, as you're coming across as deliberately dense, but here ya go. [barbieslapp.com]

Re:bounced checks? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35399396)

Settlement != judgement. Why do you think a settlement for such a large amount? Try again.

Re:bounced checks? (3, Informative)

micheas (231635) | more than 3 years ago | (#35398872)

He sued the spammer and won.

The spammer wrote a bad check to him as payment.

Not for spamming (5, Informative)

HLJ76 (2007462) | more than 3 years ago | (#35398624)

According to the linked Miami Herald article, he got sentenced for running an online pharmacy, not for spamming. Big change in tone of the article. Spamming just lead to some one being annoyed enough at the guy to help the IRS track him down.

Re:Not for spamming (3, Insightful)

Seumas (6865) | more than 3 years ago | (#35399342)

Yeah, the headline on Slashdot would tend to elicit rightful cries of "Is spamming a 'crime' worthy of taking several percent of someone's entire life span?", while the real article would elicit rightful responses of "Okay, so the guy was found guilty of running a prescription drug sales scam online".

Someone really needs to vet the sanity of articles before they make Slashdot, but after almost fifteen years, why start now?

Re:Not for spamming (1)

KiloByte (825081) | more than 3 years ago | (#35399692)

I'd say that a big spam campaign should have the same penalty as a single murder. Deleting a single piece of spam takes only a few seconds on the average, but even after spam filters, you have hundreds of millions messages that do pass through. Collect that together and they can easily take out a whole life.

Fake drug scams take out lives too, it is reasonable to assume a number of people affected will lose enough from their life expectancy to make a penalty equivalent to one for a murder fair.

I think measuring any crime's effects by adding the time others lose to your act is a simple and fair scheme. It would also lead to decriminalizing things that harm no one.

Re:Not for spamming (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35399756)

I think measuring any crime's effects by adding the time others lose to your act is a simple and fair scheme. It would also lead to decriminalizing things that harm no one.

Yea, executives of ad companies, republican presidents and such.... should all be sentenced for a very long time.

Re:Not for spamming (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35400172)

So if you add up everyone who facepalmed after reading that post, the collected force would crush someone's skull, so clearly you should be going down for murder as well.

Re:Not for spamming (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35401864)

Seriously? Wow

Spamming attorney Vs. IRS (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35398672)

I am conflicted.

Re:Spamming attorney Vs. IRS (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35398918)

Spamming attorney is doing it because he's the unethical shit breaking the law.

IRS - collecting on behalf of Congress who can never ever live within their means - even when they use Hollywood bookkeeping to "balance" the budget.

The attorney is the shit here.

Any problems with the IRS you'd have to blame Congress for.

Re:Spamming attorney Vs. IRS (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35399578)

You should not be. One spamming attorney avoiding paying taxes to the tune of millions means everyone else gets to pay more taxes to make up the difference.

Re:Spamming attorney Vs. IRS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35399714)

One spamming attorney avoiding paying taxes to the tune of millions means everyone else gets to pay more taxes to make up the difference.

Yes, because if they don't raise everyone else's taxes they would run out of money to spend!

Re:Spamming attorney Vs. IRS (1)

sco08y (615665) | more than 3 years ago | (#35400392)

I am conflicted.

If the income tax were abolished and the IRS was disbanded, all the folks working there, not to mention the legions of people working in the tax preparation business, would make an immense contribution to society, instead of sifting through records and trying to satisfy the incoherent rulings of Congress.

The spamming attorney is doing it because he's got nothing of real value that anyone wants.

Drama Queen or Troll? (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35398688)

The owner of that website is either a drama queen or a troll. There's a space in the footer that links to this: http://barbieslapp.com/z-ads/trapper_1.htm [barbieslapp.com]

If I had had my morning coffee I could conjure the words to describe how ridiculous that is.

Re:Drama Queen or Troll? (2)

_Sprocket_ (42527) | more than 3 years ago | (#35399030)

The guy has been around /. for years. And apparently has spent a fair amount of time swimming with sharks (of the legal profession). I agree that the overall tone is a bit... distracting. But I can imagine the shenanigans he's gone through require a bit of shenanigans of his own to handle. I'd pick his actions over spamers any day.

Re:Drama Queen or Troll? (2)

Haedrian (1676506) | more than 3 years ago | (#35399042)

Weird page, wonder what its for. Its excluded from being indexed by crawlers...

There's another trap named in the robots.txt file, but the link doesn't seem to work so I can't view it. Ah well.

Re:Drama Queen or Troll? (-1, Redundant)

micker (668555) | more than 3 years ago | (#35399424)

Seriously, who greenlighted this article? How in the world did this self serving pile of crap make it through moderation?

idiotic laws (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35398704)

I'm amazed at the prison sentences for sending bulk e-mail in a country like the USA or any other western country. SPAM can easily be filtered, why should people be sent to prison? Does SPAM (such as viagra spam) harm people in any way? I do believe that speading viruses/malware/phishing through e-mail can cause damages but isn't a prison sentence exaggerated?

Re:idiotic laws (3, Informative)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 3 years ago | (#35398800)

He went to jail for purchasing half a million dollars in pharmaceutical drugs from a DEA undercover agent.

He was running an illegal online pharmacy.

The writer of the article had previously gotten a judgment against the guy for spamming.

Re:idiotic laws (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35399132)

It certainly can't be "easily" filtered. It also costs money to people running mail servers and generally puts strain on the net. How about you just don't spam, eh?

Re:idiotic laws (0)

micker (668555) | more than 3 years ago | (#35401526)

It's pretty simple to filter and it doesn't "strain" the net. I don't think I've gotten more than one spam email a week for the past few years and my email address is all over the internet. It's a non-issue people like to make into an issue.

Re:idiotic laws (0)

Kosi (589267) | more than 3 years ago | (#35400604)

The sentences in the USA are often insane. In some states, you even can get a lifetime sentence just for shoplifting, if you are caught the third time. Yes, this is idiotic, because it is known for a long time now, that maximizing the punishment for a certain offense does not keep anyone from committing that offense. The reason is that people usually think that they will not be caught. So, the solution is not to punish harder, but to increase the fear of getting caught.

IIRC back in time when abductions of celeb's kids for ransom increased greatly, some states in the USA put that under death penalty. It did not make things better, it made them worse, because now the abductors just killed their victims, so they could not identify them.

It had to be Florida (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35398706)

It had to be Florida, didn't it? I think the whole state economy must basically be scams, spam and other illegal activities.. I've had dealing with a few FL lawyers in my time too.. and a lot of them have been directly engaged in the criminal activities of their clients too.

Re:It had to be Florida (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35401382)

Flori-DUH is pretty bad... there are more squirrels per square yard than Union Square in San Francisco... it is also an excellent place for grifters and con artists because most residents are a half-bubble off plumb and a box of rocks to boot... uneducated workforce, no work ethic, and a bag-of-smoke, case-of-beer mentality hurtling towards Fridays...

All that, (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35398712)

And Ben Bernanke, et al, still walk free.

Hey, attorneys invented Internet spam! (5, Interesting)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 3 years ago | (#35398900)

From Wikipedia, "Laurence A. Canter and Martha S. Siegel were partners in a husband-and-wife firm of lawyers who on April 12, 1994 posted the first massive commercial Usenet spam . . . Canter and Siegel were not the first Usenet spammers. The "Green Card" spam was, however, the first commercial Usenet spam, and its unrepentant authors are seen as having fired the starting gun for the legions of spammers that now occupy the Internet." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cantor_and_Seagal [wikipedia.org]

But this case seems to be more about wire fraud, than spam.

But still, thanks a lot Cantor and Siegel! You should have patented it! "A Method and Process of Sending Unwanted Advertisements to Everyone on the Internet, Which They Don't Want, and Don't need."

Where is there a patent troll when you need one? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35399070)

When you wish to have patent trolls on spam, you don't get them.

late-comers (1)

manaway (53637) | more than 3 years ago | (#35399830)

But still, thanks a lot Cantor and Siegel! You should have patented it! "A Method and Process of Sending Unwanted Advertisements to Everyone on the Internet, Which They Don't Want, and Don't need."

The PR industry [wikipedia.org] (c. early 1900s) is way ahead of them. And if Bernays had patented the technique, it would have expired long ago. Except for the Internet part. So you're right, they could have patented it. Except the patent would expire in 3 years. Unless someone could figure out a slight modification, or an iApp, that was worthy of another patent. Except that couldn't happen.

Advertising is the art of convincing people to spend money they don't have for something they don't need. -- Will Rogers

Spam action doesn't get less useful (2)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 3 years ago | (#35399130)

So some guy who sent out spam was convicted and jailed for something not related to his spam. Really he might as well have been ticketed for jaywalking, it would be just as useful in regards to the spamming epidemic. In the end this kind of crap will never make one iota of difference in global spam volumes or the problems that come from them.

As long as there is money to be made from sending spam, spam will continue to be sent. The only way to end spam is to detach spammers from their revenue sources, period. This did not accomplish that so the spam will continue.

Not exactly true. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35399308)

Ever hear of Al Capone [wikipedia.org]? They got him on tax evasion.

Last year, someone sent in a traffic ticket with a not guilty plea on it. The ticket had blood on it, and it led to a major drug bust [nytrafficticket.com]. Or a
traffic stop for an open alchohol container lead to a
heroin-trafficking arrest

Many times, the investigation started as one thing, but led to others. From my read of the case docket is that the IRS was investigating Smoley for failing to file tax returns and Silverstein's web site and chat led them to the internet pharmacy.

Re:Spam action doesn't get less useful (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35399346)

It is related, he advertised his illegal drug business with spam. So, him out of the equation means one less advertiser.
If they take out ALL guys like this one, then drug spam will be gone.

Re:Spam action doesn't get less useful (0)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 3 years ago | (#35399430)

When it comes down to it, this is REALLY a story about the monopoly racket run by big pharma - and the restrictions they have had enacted in law, using government to protect their turf. They use an excuse of "public safety" for this, and involve the DEA.

Re:Spam action doesn't get less useful (1, Insightful)

micker (668555) | more than 3 years ago | (#35399486)

Yeah... no more troublesome free speech! Won't everything be so much nicer when all speech is regulated?

Re:Spam action doesn't get less useful (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35400122)

There are different types of speech. This is not control of speech, but the control of the method of delivery. Do I have to go into your house (because you did not bolt all your doors and windows), use your telephone (to make local, non-toll telephone calls) all day long, while you are at work, to sell my penis enlargment pills?

There is no harm to you, since you are not home, you are not being charged for the calls. So what is 20 people a day call you and leave nasty messages on your machine or interrupt your dinnfer to call you an asshole for bothering them with that type of call? All you have to do is not answer your phone and delete all your voice mail messages. No harm, no foul?

Re:Spam action doesn't get less useful (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 3 years ago | (#35400050)

If they take out ALL guys like this one, then drug spam will be gone.

Except that using this method you will never take out all the drug spammers. Not in an infinite amount of time, as long as nothing else changes and the human race exists. Spammers don't give a shit about US laws because most of them don't live or operate here anyways.

The only way to stop spam is to address the root cause of spam, and this method doesn't even move in the right direction to do so.

Re:Spam action doesn't get less useful (1)

amorsen (7485) | more than 3 years ago | (#35400096)

Spammers don't give a shit about US laws because most of them don't live or operate here anyways.

10 worst spam havens [spamhaus.org]. Currently the US in first place is almost 3 times as bad as second place China. Even worse, a lot of the spam coming out of China is sent on behalf of spammers residing in the US.

Re:Spam action doesn't get less useful (2)

Seumas (6865) | more than 3 years ago | (#35399398)

Is spam really an epidemic? We have simple means to block almost all spam, so that the average person probably sees maybe a dozen spam messages per year. If everyone is inoculated against something, so nobody is thereby being infected with said virus, is it really still an "epidemic"?

Re:Spam action doesn't get less useful (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35399574)

I don't know why you only have a score of 1, you are 100% correct, spam is not an epidemic at all. I see maybe 1 spam message a month, and I get around 100 emails a day. There might be thousands of spam messages sent a second, but its not like it really effects you. You click delete and move on. Sending someone to jail for spam? That just sounds dumb...

Re:Spam action doesn't get less useful (4, Informative)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 3 years ago | (#35399996)

Is spam really an epidemic?

Yes, it is

We have simple means to block almost all spam

But we pay a nontrivial cost for those filters. Even if you only use gmail for email, and you trust the "free" google filters, you are still paying for them. The cost is passed down to the consumer to pay for bandwidth, CPU time, storage space, and of course updates to filter rules.

If everyone is inoculated against something, so nobody is thereby being infected with said virus, is it really still an "epidemic"?

That is not a fair comparison and I'll tell you why.

When we began inoculation against polio, we eventually wiped out the virus from the main population. The virus could not spread and could not infect (of course now it may be coming back but that is a different situation). The cost of polio dropped to almost nothing because in the developed world people no longer were infected by the virus.

On the other hand, people all over the world are constantly paying the cost of spam. Just because they don't see (much of) it doesn't mean it no longer exists. Spam still consumes bandwidth, storage, and CPU time. And of course we need to also consider the false positive rate of spam filtering; the lost productivity and economic progress that we pay for as a result of legitimate email that is errantly thrown out as spam by filtering techniques. Those who believe in filters have to update their filters because the spammers are constantly finding new ways to get around them. Even if the average person sees very few spam emails in a year, it doesn't mean they don't have to pay for them.

And the fact that so many people are oblivious to what spam costs them may in some ways be even worse.

So in other words, yes. Spam is still very much an epidemic. It will cease to be an epidemic when spam is no longer sent; regardless of whether or not it is viewed.

Re:Spam action doesn't get less useful (2)

Seumas (6865) | more than 3 years ago | (#35400134)

We have simple means to block almost all spam

But we pay a nontrivial cost for those filters. Even if you only use gmail for email, and you trust the "free" google filters, you are still paying for them. The cost is passed down to the consumer to pay for bandwidth, CPU time, storage space, and of course updates to filter rules.

We pay for inoculations as well. They aren't free and often are not paid for by the individual being inoculated. If you starve it out, the problem will go away and that is MUCH more feasible than targeting thousands of amorphous spammers around the globe (often in places where they are not reachable by any punitive means).

If everyone is inoculated against something, so nobody is thereby being infected with said virus, is it really still an "epidemic"?

That is not a fair comparison and I'll tell you why.

When we began inoculation against polio, we eventually wiped out the virus from the main population. The virus could not spread and could not infect (of course now it may be coming back but that is a different situation). The cost of polio dropped to almost nothing because in the developed world people no longer were infected by the virus.

On the other hand, people all over the world are constantly paying the cost of spam. Just because they don't see (much of) it doesn't mean it no longer exists. Spam still consumes bandwidth, storage, and CPU time. And of course we need to also consider the false positive rate of spam filtering; the lost productivity and economic progress that we pay for as a result of legitimate email that is errantly thrown out as spam by filtering techniques. Those who believe in filters have to update their filters because the spammers are constantly finding new ways to get around them. Even if the average person sees very few spam emails in a year, it doesn't mean they don't have to pay for them.

And the fact that so many people are oblivious to what spam costs them may in some ways be even worse.

So in other words, yes. Spam is still very much an epidemic. It will cease to be an epidemic when spam is no longer sent; regardless of whether or not it is viewed.

I don't see a significant difference from the inoculation metaphor. Like a virus, spam only continues to "spread" if it continues to find purchase within a host. Or, rather, to be viewed and responded to. The only reason spammers continue to do what they do is because of the handful of people who don't take precautions against spam, like people who don't protect their children from mumps, rubella, or smallpox.

When it comes down to it, spam is a thing like many others in the tech world. A thing which can best be addressed by preventative technology rather than trying to stick some kid in pound-me-in-the-ass hard-core prison, for writing a script that spams a bunch of crap to a million accounts.

Of course, there's another similarity to viruses and inoculations. The sickness fuels an entire industry (medical and pharmaceutical or technological and consultative) on which a large economy is fueled. A sort of "prison industry / criminal legislation" symbiosis.

Re:Spam action doesn't get less useful (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 3 years ago | (#35400394)

We pay for inoculations as well. They aren't free and often are not paid for by the individual being inoculated.

Actually there are many cases where your second statement is untrue. The direct cost of inoculation has plummeted due to several factors in the past few decades, such that individuals can afford the cost of some inoculations directly.

If you starve it out, the problem will go away and that is MUCH more feasible than targeting thousands of amorphous spammers around the globe (often in places where they are not reachable by any punitive means).

The problem is you cannot starve out the spam epidemic, if that is what you want to suggest. At least not by any filtering method. Filters will never end the spamming epidemic because the spammers will always find ways around them and other real costs of filtering will continue to increase.

That said, you don't have to go after the spammers themselves to shut them down. You just need to take the initiative to go after the people who pay them. Spammers don't send out spam to piss people off, they send it out because they are paid to do so. If they don't get paid, they don't send the spam. And the total list of people who are paying for spam is actually fairly small in comparison to the number of spamming operations.

I don't see a significant difference from the inoculation metaphor.

There is a huge difference. If you don't understand it then either I'm not explaining it well, you don't understand what I am saying, or you don't want to understand what I am saying.

Like a virus, spam only continues to "spread" if it continues to find purchase within a host. Or, rather, to be viewed and responded to. The only reason spammers continue to do what they do is because of the handful of people who don't take precautions against spam, like people who don't protect their children from mumps, rubella, or smallpox.

Actually, you are wrong there. Spammers are not paid directly for purchases, they are paid for sending out the spam. After all, you do realize that spam is most often not sent out by the merchants themselves, but rather by their business partners, right?

which can best be addressed by preventative technology

You're wrong twice there. First, preventative technology won't do it, and filtering is by no means preventative.

rather than trying to stick some kid in pound-me-in-the-ass hard-core prison, for writing a script that spams a bunch of crap to a million accounts.

I have never advocated jailing spammers. In fact I have repeatedly stated that jail will never work for the spamming epidemic. If you some how came to any other conclusion from my writing then please go back and re-read what I have written.

The sickness fuels an entire industry (medical and pharmaceutical or technological and consultative)

That is also incorrect. Most drug spams are selling counterfeit drugs that are seldom what they claim to be. Hence the industries you are aiming to demonize are seeing zero profit from the spamming operations, and indeed are more likely being unfairly hurt by it because people are purchasing the counterfeit versions - which don't generally work - and end up incorrectly believing the true products to be snake oil.

Re:Spam action doesn't get less useful (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35400572)

Mod this post up!

Re:Spam action doesn't get less useful (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35400114)

The only reason you don't see much spam is because ISPs and server administrators take great pains to block it. So yes, spam is still very much an epidemic even though the effects to society as a whole are not nearly what they once were. Since there is a cost involved in fighting spam, then yes it is still a problem that affects us all. Tuberculosis is still something to take seriously even though people generally don't get it anymore due to improved medical care. If we became too complacent, TB would return and we would in fact have an epidemic.

Re:Spam action doesn't get less useful (2)

sco08y (615665) | more than 3 years ago | (#35400550)

Is spam really an epidemic? We have simple means to block almost all spam, so that the average person probably sees maybe a dozen spam messages per year. If everyone is inoculated against something, so nobody is thereby being infected with said virus, is it really still an "epidemic"?

Part of living in the States is that we don't know what _real_ epidemics are, just like we don't know what _real_ poverty is like.

A better analogy would be water quality, which may not be an epidemic, but is pretty damned close. If you go to a third world country, your body will build up a tolerance to the local water, after several rounds of diarrhea. But it's not real immunity, it's just your system constantly pouring on resources to fight the infection. You basically just get used to being sick.

We've all built up this tolerance for spam to where we don't notice it, but all that stuff is still there, the water is still filthy, and it's still affecting you. I don't check my spam folders; there are thousands of spams, so I just hope that I don't get a critical false positive. I don't bother trying to set up my own mail server, it will either get black listed if I screw up, or I'll have to wrestle with configuring SpamAssassin or something like that.

Re:Spam action doesn't get less useful (1)

Kosi (589267) | more than 3 years ago | (#35400664)

Is spam really an epidemic?

Even the most conservative estimations range around 80 percent of all emails being spam. So, yes, it is.

So you're happy that free speech is dead? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35399200)

Anti-spam laws limit our ability as people to organize to action they limit our freedom of speech. Not only that, they just punish those of us in free countries even more.

Re:So you're happy that free speech is dead? (1)

Vlad_the_Inhaler (32958) | more than 3 years ago | (#35399368)

You don't remember the /. story about Russia's most prolific spammer a couple of years back.
Hint: it was an obituary / whodunnit

What does this have to do with spam (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35399340)

It seems subby here is just using this to promote his personal agendas. The story isn't even about spam. It really looks like the submitter just wanted to get his site linked on slashdot so he could get crawled by more bots and generate more ridiculous lawsuits.

Grow up and get a job. Going through life entrapping spammers is no way to live son.

Get a life (-1, Troll)

Venik (915777) | more than 3 years ago | (#35399364)

These anti-spam crusaders are getting annoying. Seriously, people have nothing better to do with their time. They fancy themselves nothing short of Nazi hunters. Get a spam filter or open a gmail account.

Re:Get a life (1)

merc (115854) | more than 3 years ago | (#35399586)

These anti-spam crusaders are getting annoying. Seriously, people have nothing better to do with their time. They fancy themselves nothing short of Nazi hunters. Get a spam filter or open a gmail account.

I can't possibly imagine how anti-spammers are annoying anyone other than the dirtbag spammer themselves. And really... Nazis? Please. Your strawman argument amounts to less than even a good net trolling.

Personally, I applaud Mr. Silverstein's actions. I'm glad there's someone out there with the guts to go after these thieving scumbags.

Re:Get a life (1)

Venik (915777) | more than 3 years ago | (#35400080)

Spamming is a technical problem with a technical solution. On a personal level, I feel deeply suspicious of people who take it upon themselves to act in what they assume might as well be my best interests. There are laws controlling spam and there are law enforcement agencies (God knows the US has no shortage of those). Silverstein should find a new hobby, like suing his neighbors for not trimming their lawns on time or failing to scoop dog shit.

Re:Get a life (2)

Foobar of Borg (690622) | more than 3 years ago | (#35400286)

Spamming is a technical problem with a technical solution. On a personal level, I feel deeply suspicious of people who take it upon themselves to act in what they assume might as well be my best interests. There are laws controlling spam and there are law enforcement agencies (God knows the US has no shortage of those). Silverstein should find a new hobby, like suing his neighbors for not trimming their lawns on time or failing to scoop dog shit.

Your post advocates a

(X) technical (X) legislative ( ) market-based ( ) vigilante

approach to fighting spam. Your idea will not work. Here is why it won't work. (One or more of the following may apply to your particular idea, and it may have other flaws which used to vary from state to state before a bad federal law was passed.)

( ) Spammers can easily use it to harvest email addresses
(X) Mailing lists and other legitimate email uses would be affected
( ) No one will be able to find the guy or collect the money
( ) It is defenseless against brute force attacks
(X) It will stop spam for two weeks and then we'll be stuck with it
(X) Users of email will not put up with it
( ) Microsoft will not put up with it
( ) The police will not put up with it
(X) Requires too much cooperation from spammers
( ) Requires immediate total cooperation from everybody at once
(X) Many email users cannot afford to lose business or alienate potential employers
( ) Spammers don't care about invalid addresses in their lists
( ) Anyone could anonymously destroy anyone else's career or business

Specifically, your plan fails to account for

( ) Laws expressly prohibiting it
(X) Lack of centrally controlling authority for email
(X) Open relays in foreign countries
( ) Ease of searching tiny alphanumeric address space of all email addresses
(X) Asshats
(X) Jurisdictional problems
( ) Unpopularity of weird new taxes
( ) Public reluctance to accept weird new forms of money
( ) Huge existing software investment in SMTP
( ) Susceptibility of protocols other than SMTP to attack
( ) Willingness of users to install OS patches received by email
( ) Armies of worm riddled broadband-connected Windows boxes
( ) Eternal arms race involved in all filtering approaches
(X) Extreme profitability of spam
( ) Joe jobs and/or identity theft
(X) Technically illiterate politicians
(X) Extreme stupidity on the part of people who do business with spammers
(X) Dishonesty on the part of spammers themselves
(X) Bandwidth costs that are unaffected by client filtering
( ) Outlook

and the following philosophical objections may also apply:

(X) Ideas similar to yours are easy to come up with, yet none have ever been shown practical
( ) Any scheme based on opt-out is unacceptable
( ) SMTP headers should not be the subject of legislation
( ) Blacklists suck
( ) Whitelists suck
(X) We should be able to talk about Viagra without being censored
( ) Countermeasures should not involve wire fraud or credit card fraud
( ) Countermeasures should not involve sabotage of public networks
( ) Countermeasures must work if phased in gradually
( ) Sending email should be free
( ) Why should we have to trust you and your servers?
( ) Incompatiblity with open source or open source licenses
( ) Feel-good measures do nothing to solve the problem
( ) Temporary/one-time email addresses are cumbersome
( ) I don't want the government reading my email
(X) Killing them that way is not slow and painful enough

Furthermore, this is what I think about you:

(X) Sorry dude, but I don't think it would work.
(X) This is a stupid idea, and you're a stupid person for suggesting it.
( ) Nice try, assh0le! I'm going to find out where you live and burn your house down!

Why is spam evil? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35399428)

Perhaps I am in the minority BUT...

Can someone explain to me why precisely spam is so serious an offense as it would appear to slashdot users? Why are there countless posts of slashdotters -- whether in jest or not -- calling for the death and conviction of "spammers"?

Last I checked, spam has never hurt me or any of my loved ones. Spam has annoyed me. Spam has brought my inbox closer to its quota, but it has never actually physically, materially or financially harmed me.

So I do not wish any spammer go to prison for ten years -- why would I wish such a fate upon someone whose crime against me has not diminished my livelihood at all?

Our prisons are over-populated and its because Americans have some seriously flawed values. I can understand slashdotters annoyance with spammers but I do not understand slashdotters apparent blood-thirst for them. Can any of you please explain to me why precisely spammers are so evil and deserving of punishment? Perhaps you can convince me -- please, I just want to know!

Re:Why is spam evil? (2)

micker (668555) | more than 3 years ago | (#35399514)

Unfortunately its troll mentality turned towards civics... Where the techie crowd was once the first to rise to the defense of free speech, lately the trolls have taken over and want to regulate speech in all forms.

Re:Why is spam evil? (3, Informative)

mewshi_nya (1394329) | more than 3 years ago | (#35399528)

For starters, all that spam is basically junk mail where the sender didn't pay any postage. It's an abuse of the system in a lot of ways:
1) the strain it puts on the network (all those e-mails take up a good chunk of space)
2) the strain it puts on the mail servers (both in terms of processing to remove junk mail and in terms of hard drive space)
3) the fact that a significant portion of spam is sent by botnets without the users' knowledge

As to why people on /. hate it more... just think of how many people on this site have to spend hours trying to fix/update/manage their server's spam filters.

Re:Why is spam evil? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35399624)

myself included, fixing updating managing my boss's server's spam filters...

So wouldn't that imply spam has given me a job?

Re:Why is spam evil? (1)

micker (668555) | more than 3 years ago | (#35401540)

just think of how many people on this site have to spend hours trying to fix/update/manage their server's spam filters.

Just think how many people have jobs because of it. But yeah, I get your point. It would make more sense for everyone if we further curtailed speech and laid off a bunch of IT guys.

Re:Why is spam evil? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35399940)

As an email marketer (some call me a spammer and some don't) I really feel it's because of the idiots who use botnets and hawk porn and pills that will kill people.

I mail insurance lead generation type of emails (health, life, and auto) and have buyers from some of the biggest brands in the world. I spend roughly 8k a month on infrastructure costs (servers, bandwidth, etc), but I make roughly 7 figures a year. The last part is why I feel most people hate it. They're simply jealous. I took my CS degree and applied it in a way to maximize my wealth while other people took it and set in a cubicle. I've been in a cubicle and it sucks. I've had PHBs and that sucks. So I took what I knew figured out how to write good ad copy and now I can work any where in the world and pretty much do whatever I want as long as it's legal.

Anti-spammers know this and hate it, because I'd guess most have a crappy job they hate. They use this as a way to try and assert some sort of odd dominance over someone, because they lack a sense of control over their own life.

With that said I can fully understand why someone wouldn't like a porn / pill spammer using a botnet to spew email. They're criminals that violate the law and invade other peoples private property (their personal computers) for financial gain.

Before someone says "ZOMG YOU INVADE MY SERVERZ HURR DURR" no I don't. When you offer email service to someone else and they sign up for stuff don't get upset when they receive an email they asked for.

Huh? Nonsense! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35400276)

When you offer email service to someone else and they sign up for stuff don't get upset when they receive an email they asked for.

Huh? If someone signs up for an e-mail, then it is not spam.

However, if I sign up for one thing, it is does not authorize everyone else in the world to e-mail me. Buyig a list is not buying permission.

Inserting an '@' in my e-mail address does not indicate that I want marketing material from every insurance lead generator in the world.

If Charlie Sheen gives me Denise Richards [deniserichards.com] telephone number and address, does that give me permission to spend the night with her?

Re:Why is spam evil? (1)

Foobar of Borg (690622) | more than 3 years ago | (#35402036)

The last part is why I feel most people hate it. They're simply jealous.

Actually, you're an idiot. They hate you for the same reason most people hate lawyers. You are bottom-feeding scum who contributes nothing of value to society, and in fact takes value out of society. If you were paid according to what you actually produce, you would have to give us all money to keep doing what you do. But, alas, that is capitalism.

Re:Why is spam evil? (1)

micker (668555) | more than 3 years ago | (#35402126)

If he's selling insurance he's contributing to society. He's generating jobs and tax dollars. That's what we need.

Re:Why is spam evil? (1)

GillyGuthrie (1515855) | more than 3 years ago | (#35400868)

The poor suckers who have their email server compromised will inevitably be blacklisted by their ISPs. This will effectively prevent any mail from successfully being sent out to recipients. This means that the legitimate email server will no longer be able to send any mail, or any mail of their customers' behalf until the victimized server can be cleaned of malware on their server, and the owner can convince their ISP and anyone else who has cut them off to trust them again enough to accept email from them. It's not good for business when your email cuts out. Lots of money can be lost.

Spammers are assholes getting free advertising at the expense of legitimate businesses and home users. They steal, dupe, and shit on everyone they come in contact with. They obtain their revenue through unscrupulous means. What is hard to understand about the criminal activity here?

Good job I didn't scroll all the way down (1)

simplypeachy (706253) | more than 3 years ago | (#35399648)

What an obnoxious and offensive footer his web site has. Leaves a bad taste in the mouth that makes it all feel like he's being turned into an Attorney himself.

Good and bad. (1)

umask077 (122989) | more than 3 years ago | (#35399936)

Spammign is always bad, Internet pharmacys are a blessing.

“The Smoley drug trafficking organization fed the habits of drug seekers while its members chose profits over the health and well-being of those customers,” said DEA special agent Anthony

How does giving people meds they cant get cause they cant afford to go to the doctor hurt patients. Yes, some will overdose, Darwin takes care of that. People overdose on Ibuproifn all the time. As long as hes really shipping the medications requested I don't see a problem with it. Just more uneducated DEA saber rattling.

Anyone try reading the rest of his website? (1)

Kral_Blbec (1201285) | more than 3 years ago | (#35400112)

It seems he has a beef against Mattel for some reason, but after 15 minutes skimming through all I could find was stuff about how they tried to silence him and his demands for an apology. I never found what exactly he has against them.

LOL (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35400414)

attorney can't get himself out of a 40 month conviction for spamming.

find a new day job.

He pled guilty (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35400688)

Of course, I would not hire him since he can't keep himself out of jail, even when he planned the crimes.

It seems to me like he was in a lot more trouble than justthe 2 charges he pled guilty to! When one pleads guilty to two crimes and gets 40 months getting $40M seized, one must wonder what other crimes that he bargained out of? Criminal spamming, tax evasion, conspiracy?

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