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Spammers Jailed for 2 Years

Hemos posted more than 13 years ago | from the good-riddance-to-bad-rubish dept.

Spam 179

KjetilK writes "Ananova reports in an article that two spammers have been jailed for two years after sending 50 million e-mails. According to the story, 12,000 people bought their scam. May they be served SPAM every day in jail."

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Smaller package (1)

GeckoX (259575) | more than 13 years ago | (#533459)

I'd rather see them stuffed into their own personal cans of 'spam' tx, but I guess jail will do for now.

What were the charges? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#533460)

The article reads like they got jailed for running sniffer bots for email addresses, not for actually sending the spam.

True reason? (2)

bluelip (123578) | more than 13 years ago | (#533461)

Wouldn't the true reason they went to jail be becuase of the Scam and not the Spam? Has anyone gone to jail for purely spam?

Yee-haw! (1)

Saint Aardvark (159009) | more than 13 years ago | (#533462)

Let the bastards rot!

/. post is misleading (3)

bunco (1432) | more than 13 years ago | (#533463)

They got jailed for *FRAUD* not for spamming.

food choice (1)

direwolf puppy (243414) | more than 13 years ago | (#533464)

NO ONE can eat SPAM every day for longer than a week...it's just not natural. Then again, maybe spammers aren't natural either. I'll leave that question to the philosophers

jailed for fraud, not spamming (1)

jkorty (86242) | more than 13 years ago | (#533465)

These two guys weren't jailed for spamming. They were jailed for duping people out of their money. I'm still waiting for a *real* spamming conviction.

jailed for scaming, not spaming (2)

tolldog (1571) | more than 13 years ago | (#533466)

Reading the article, they are jailed for fraud, not for spamming.
Big deal.
People get jailed for that all the time.

I want to see people jailed just for sending spam.

Not just for spamming. (2)

Pahroza (24427) | more than 13 years ago | (#533467)

According to the article, they pleaded guilty to fraud charges. Article says: They then sent a mass e-mailing, asking recipients for a £24 "processing fee" in exchange for a chance to work at home stuffing envelopes.

Good oder Bad? (1)

syrupMatt (248267) | more than 13 years ago | (#533468)

Hrmm....

I'm a firm believer in the notion of a hands off policy about the Internet from the government. This is a new territory, not contained within the bounds of any one nation, yet governments attempt to enforce their will on it.

This is a case where the veracity of the Internet communities request for autonomy is really called into question. Can we have it both ways? Can we call in the cops when needed, but kick them out as soon as we are done with them?

I think this seems good on the surface, but has set a dangerous precendent about how much interference we are willing to allow by a national government. However, the question would remain, how would the Internet police itself and enforce judgement, without the help of nations?

This might be the most deceptively dangerous action in the Internet in the past few years, IMHO.

Re:True reason? (1)

11thangel (103409) | more than 13 years ago | (#533469)

That's a good question. It probably will never be known until the next case comes up. What confuses me is, if online spammers should be jailed, what about the people who make and advertise the meat?

Woohooo! (1)

mholve (1101) | more than 13 years ago | (#533470)

Finally!

Death to spammers!

Sadly, they were convicted of fraud, not spamming. (5)

Don Negro (1069) | more than 13 years ago | (#533471)

According to the article, they were running an 'envelope stuffing' racket.

The only difference was that they ran it via email solicitation rather than by the more conventional classified ad route.

BTW, there are no jobs stuffing envelopes. Pitney-Bowes makes very nice envelope stuffing machines, which operate very efficiently in the >$.01 range.

Don Negro

A start; could be better (1)

SlapAyoda (6041) | more than 13 years ago | (#533472)

Well, this is a start, I suppose, but this [slashdot.org] is really the right way to go about it.

Fines in Washington (5)

doorbot.com (184378) | more than 13 years ago | (#533473)

Fight Spam on the Internet! [abuse.net]

Spam Laws in the US, Europe, and beyond [spamlaws.com]

According to this page [mcnichol.com] , Washington law sets the following as penalties for spam:

The law allows for damages to the recipient of $500 or actual damages, which ever is greater, for EACH MESSAGE received. The law also allows $1,000 or actual damages, which ever is greater, to the Internet Service Provider, for EACH MESSAGE received.


Full text of the law is available [mcnichol.com] .

Re:jailed for scaming, not spaming (3)

garcia (6573) | more than 13 years ago | (#533474)

no you don't. We have enough problems w/people being jailed for stupid fucking crimes (possession of marijuana, fraud, money laundering). We need to put people away for murder, rape, major drug production and moving. We can't find kidnappers, rapists, and murders, but we can track down two idiots who sent out 50 million emails and had 12k idiots fall for their ploy...

Fill the prisons with REAL criminals not stupid idiots. They should be put on house arrest and served SPAM, not taking up space in the already overcrowded system..

Just my worthless .02

oh great..... (3)

canning (228134) | more than 13 years ago | (#533475)

More than 12,000 people were duped. Internet providers, including AOL, AT&T and Mindspring, were besieged by customer complaints and their systems were threatened by the overload.

The plea agreements require the men to reveal to the internet providers how they accomplished their scheme.

Here we go, everybody get ready for a constant battering of emails from large internet providers claiming faster service and lower rates. Thanks for adding another powerful weapon to the world of spamming

I think they should have been orderd to keep their mouths shut.

Uh..."SPAM" is not a synonym to "fraud" (1)

boinger (4618) | more than 13 years ago | (#533476)

These people happened to deliver their scam via unsolicited email. That's not why they're being imprisoned.

Just like Jim Bakker didn't go to jail for being married to a woman with no fasion sense. That's just peripheral information.

Plea Agreements (1)

Baconator (240452) | more than 13 years ago | (#533477)

The plea agreements require the men to reveal to the internet providers how they accomplished their scheme.

Doesn't seem like too much of a mystery to me... I sincerely hope they didn't get out of much jail time in turn for explaining how to use spammer software!

The real mystery is how they managed to trick 12,000 people out of almost $350,000 with such a pathetic scam.

What?? (1)

boinger (4618) | more than 13 years ago | (#533478)

Why are Americans being fined in pounds, anyway?

Part of this is untrue (1)

thenoog (178407) | more than 13 years ago | (#533479)

Nothing about 50 million emails would give any "internet provider" more than a tiny blip on the radar. These observations about "almost brought the largest internet providers to a standstill" are untrue. If the providers made the argument in court, in order to convict, I can understand it. But it cannot be true.

Internet Idiot Quotient (IIQ) (4)

scotch (102596) | more than 13 years ago | (#533480)

Let's see, they sent out 50,000,000 emails, and successfully suckered 12,000 people? This seems like a phenomenol hit rate - 1 in ~4100 or so. Considering many emails were probably never delivered, or rejected by filters, that's much better than I thought it would be. A sucker logs on every minute

Re:jailed for scaming, not spaming (1)

grytpype (53367) | more than 13 years ago | (#533481)

I cannot think of another case where con artists who used spam to con people were sent to jail over it. If you can think of such a case, post a link. Otherwise, shut up.

Lets give em a taste of what they gave us (2)

wackysootroom (243310) | more than 13 years ago | (#533482)

I have an idea: Lets find out what jail these guys are at and all get together to send these guys a package conataining 1 can of spam, and 1 $24 offer to make money stamping license plates!

Re:Fines in Washington (1)

NineNine (235196) | more than 13 years ago | (#533483)

So what? There are lots of useless, unenforceable laws on the books. I live in a state where oral sex is still illegal.

Re:What?? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#533484)

Well, you Americans are still subjects to her Majesty the Queen of England even if you won't acknowledge it right now.

The Crown will reclaim your rebel colony some day.

Re:jailed for scaming, not spaming (1)

M. Silver (141590) | more than 13 years ago | (#533485)

We need to put people away for murder, rape, major drug production and moving.

Whoa. It's illegal to move? Dang. And I had my eye on a nice three-bedroom Victorian.

Re:/. post is misleading (1)

Sc00ter (99550) | more than 13 years ago | (#533486)

Perhaps Hemos should go to jail for fraud.

Between this and the stupid Apple article yesterday...
--

Not adequate punishment (2)

MouseR (3264) | more than 13 years ago | (#533487)

Ok, so they got nailed for fraud, and not for the spam itself.

I sitll beleive that the 69,000pounds (about 120,000$USD) plus 2 years isn't an adequate sentence.

I thing the spammers should be sentenced to manually compose a personalized excuse email to every one of the 12,000 who bought their spam plus, of course, refund of the extorted money).

Karma karma karma karma karmeleon: it comes and goes, it comes and goes.

Spam is not Free Speech (3)

Kiwi (5214) | more than 13 years ago | (#533488)

The main problem with Spam is the lack of interest from law enforcement in persecuting people who engage in spamming practices. While many spammers act like crackers in order to hijack open mail relays in to being spam amplifiers, not one spammer has been given the Kevin Mitnick treatment.

Spam costs real money to the ISPs that become unintentional spam victims, the free mail domains that spammers forge return addresses from, the victims who purchase commercial software from people not smart enough to set up a mail server to not be an open relay, and the sysadmins that have to constantly refine their spam filters from spammers continual spam filter dodging techniques.

As long as spammers do not get sent to jail for their acitons, they will continue to spam. These people could care less if they make 10,000,000 people angry, as long as they get a few thousand dollars by scamming ignorant internet users.

The only way to make the internet a place where people feel safe putting their east-to-remeber email address on a web page, in a usenet posting, or in the whois data for a domain is to make spamming a crime, and to prosecute spammers to the fullest extent of the law.

BTW, I have written some pretty effective anti-spamming software here [sourceforge.net] . Note that this software only runs on Linux/Unix machines. Windows users can use sneakemail [sneakemail.com] .

- Sam

Re:Plea Agreements (2)

DickBreath (207180) | more than 13 years ago | (#533489)

The real mystery is how they managed to trick 12,000 people out of almost $350,000 with such a pathetic scam.

Why is this such a big mystery?

I read a few years back of a survey that indicated that a large percent of the US population thinks that the X-Files has some basis in fact.

How much money has MS managed to trick people out of using a pathetic scam? Well, okay. Maybe MS's scam is not so pathetic.

sweet! (1)

Bad_CRC (137146) | more than 13 years ago | (#533490)

I love it. Nothing brightens my day more than seeing 2 spammers behind bars for a couple years.

2 down, 150,000 to go.

________

Re:jailed for scaming, not spaming (1)

The Good Reverend (84440) | more than 13 years ago | (#533491)

We can't find kidnappers, rapists, and murders, but we can track down two idiots who sent out 50 million emails and had 12k idiots fall for their ploy..

I agree with your other points, but it does tend to be quite a bit easier to find someone who's interested in selling you something. They have to pick up your money somewhere, most likely the place you send it.

The Good Reverend

Hm.... (3)

Booker (6173) | more than 13 years ago | (#533492)

Ok, so the spammed and scammed. Which were they jailed for? My guess is the latter.

---

I guess it's too hard to read the fscking headline (1)

Zico (14255) | more than 13 years ago | (#533493)

Even the headline of the damn article says that they were jailed over the scam, not for spamming.

Let's see, in the past couple of days, we've had the Sprint TOS that "makes porn-viewing illegal!!!" which didn't, the Apple "suit against FreeType!!!" that wasn't, and now this totally misleading article. Everytime I think Slashdot's sunk to a new low, they go the extra mile. Way to go, Hemos!


Cheers,

Re:jailed for scaming, not spaming (1)

KjetilK (186133) | more than 13 years ago | (#533494)

Reading the article, they are jailed for fraud, not for spamming.
Big deal.

True. And I never wrote they were jailed for spamming.

However, most of my spam is of the same sort these two spammers were pushing, so I'd say it is a big deal. Or at least a deal.

Re:/. post is misleading (1)

TheCaptain (17554) | more than 13 years ago | (#533495)

Yeah....news for nerds my ass.

It should be "Rumor Mill for Geeks and Unusually Paranoid" lately.

Re:jailed for scaming, not spaming (1)

TheCarp (96830) | more than 13 years ago | (#533496)

Excuse me but... fraud isn't a real crime?

Fraud... willfully disseminating false information for the purpose of doing or aquiring things that you are not entitled to?

As for drug production and moving... I see no reason to jail them, they are just filling a profitable market. I think they should have the FDA sent after them and be forced to slap ingredients labels on their products and do real quality assurance testing.

I think these con artists, because thats what they are, are the "Real Criminals". They are offering a product that they do not provide, they are stealing resources from ISPs and the rest of the net. They ARE cheating and swindling people out of their money, and giving headaches to admins in the process.

They are leaches on society. At least drug producers are providing people with a product that they actually want! Spammers force their junk on everyone, and use stolen resources to do it.

Imagine you walk into a store and purchase a large peice of furnature...they take your money and say "Just drive around back to the loading dock and we will load it on your vehicle"...then when you drive around noone is there and upon going back into the store, the clerk claims that he never saw you before and has no idea what your talking about. Are you saying this man would not be a "Real criminal" worthy of jail time? Thats effectivly what many of these spammers are doing.

Its fraud. Advertising using forged headers and obfuscating where your comming from... thats fraud too. These people are "Real criminals".

-Steve

In my country: abuse of community resources (2)

devphil (51341) | more than 13 years ago | (#533497)


Yeah, just fraud. And the people they defrauded were stupid, too. (I'm going to pay money for an opportunity to work at home... waitaminute.)

I want to see people jailed just for sending spam.

My dream is to secede from the Earth. Build a gigantic space station, or a Niven ring. And in my country -- of course I'm the benevolent dictator, what the freak did you expect -- spamming would be illegal, under the category of "abuse of community resources," which on an isolated space station would be a pretty serious crime...

...punishable by deportation to Earth.

Re:Sadly, they were convicted of fraud, not spammi (1)

jtdubs (61885) | more than 13 years ago | (#533498)

Unfortunately, there ARE jobs stuffing envelopes. Stop by your local temp agency and ask them. My girlfriend is currently making $7 an hour stuffing envelopes during christmas break (from college). Fun stuff from what it sounds.... or something.... :-)

Justin Dubs

Re:jailed for scaming, not spaming (2)

Zachary Kessin (1372) | more than 13 years ago | (#533499)

I would call fraud a very real crime. The main point of fraud is selling something under false pretense. Generaly fraud is directed at the people who can least afford it, the old, immigrants etc. Let the bastards rot.

The cure of the ills of Democracy is more Democracy.

Firing squad more appropriate (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#533500)

Well, I can already hear the Libertarian contingent of slashdot crying out in protest now, about how it is these people's God Given Right to send 500,000 emails all around the world at the press of a button. After all, this is legitimate enterpreuerial activity, is it not?

Let's have a look at some of the spam I get daily. "MAKE MONEY FAST!! - LEGITIMATE HOME INCOME OPPORTUNITY!". "Are you READY - For a 10 INCH PENIS??". "Re: The information you requested".

Every single person involved, anywhere along the line, in this shit reaching my mailbox should be summarily executed without trial. No questions asked, no tears shed. Maybe make them do a few years hard labour first, fine - as long as their eventual fate is to be put up against a wall and shot repeatedly in the torso and genitalia, I don't care.

Write a letter to your congressman, and Fuhrer Bush, and tell them you want action NOW on getting the death penalty written into spam propagation laws. It's the humane thing to do.

en

Re:jailed for scaming, not spaming (1)

garcia (6573) | more than 13 years ago | (#533501)

sorry, your point is overexaggerated and worthless. Drug smugglers and dealers and lords, murderers, rapists, and kidnappers do much more damage to society than fraudulant idiots...

But what do I know?

Did they REALLY get jail time? (2)

walt-sjc (145127) | more than 13 years ago | (#533502)

They may have been sentenced to two years, but that may have been suspended due to the plea agreement. Why would the prosecutor would go into a plea agreement to find out how they spammed? Everyone KNOWS how spam is sent and how spammers work. The problem is how to FIX the problem without breaking email for everyone else....

Most spammers just use poorly configured email systems (or email systems running VERY outdated software) in random contries around the world. Many of these systems don't log or validate connections so it makes things VERY difficult to deal with.

Several things have to change before the spam problem will go away.

  • ALL ISP's need to block outgoing port 25 from cablemodems / DSL / dialups. Require users to use the ISP's mail servers. Exceptions can be made for "powerusers" who sign a contract. (this can happen NOW and could drastically reduce spam today.)
  • ISP's need to install rate limiters / spam detection on the mail servers (this can also happen today.)
  • Get everyone to upgrade to secure DNS and authenticated SMTP for server to server transactions. (This will take a couple years.)
It's not hard, but it may take pressure from congress to force ISP's to enact these measures. ISP's are unwilling to do things themselves as they are too busy making money off spammers, and they are lazy. Make the ISP's liable for SPAM and THEN they will act.

Stop SPAM from home! (5)

TheFlu (213162) | more than 13 years ago | (#533503)

Hate SPAM? Dont we all! Well now you can actually do something to prevent spamming! That's right, but this offer won't last forever, so act now before it's too late. For the introductory low, low price of only $19.95, you can rest assured that you will never receive another SPAM email again. Simply send your Visa or Mastercard number to this address [mailto] . Hurry, before it's too late!

Penguins love Salmon, but hate the taste of SPAM. The Linux Pimp [thelinuxpimp.com]

Re:Is spam *really* that bad? (1)

atrowe (209484) | more than 13 years ago | (#533504)

I understand that spam can be annoying sometimes, but I can usually tell which are spam and which are actual messages directed to me by reading the subject. I simply check off all the spam and click "delete". At most, I've wasted 30 seconds out of my day. While I don't think spamming is the best way of making potential customers aware of your product or services (I personally don't purchase anything from spammers), I believe strongly in the First Amendment right of free speech and I believe that all speech, be it good or bad, should be protected.

I think it's absolutely rediculous that people are actually being thrown in jail for exercising their constitutionally protected right to free speech. I vaguely recall hearing that it costs the government somewhere around $35,000/yr to keep someone in jail. I damn sure don't want my hard earned dollars going towards this travesty of freedom. Our prisons are crowded enough as they are, shouldn't we be spending our tax dollars putting real criminals behind bars. You anti-spam people are so adamant about doing "whatever it takes" to prevent spam, but it gets to the point where the disadvantages outweigh the benefits. Perhaps you should take a step back from your crusade for a moment and think again about the way our country is today when a spammer gets locked up and the rapists, murderers and drug users out there are roaming around, free to prey on our children and loved ones.

Re:Good oder Bad? (2)

Zachary Kessin (1372) | more than 13 years ago | (#533505)

Well fundamentaly this is not a "Net" crime, this is fraud, using the Internet. If I do something that is illegal in the real world but do it online that should not make it any less Illegal.

For example if I were to call you and say "I hate you and am Going to kill you" I can reasonably expect the cops to be knocking on my door. I don't see why it should be any different if sent you an email that said the same thing.

The cure of the ills of Democracy is more Democracy.

Re:Is spam *really* that bad? (1)

atrowe (209484) | more than 13 years ago | (#533506)

sorry about that bold tag. I was pretty pissed when I wrote that and I should have proofread it.

Re:I guess it's too hard to read the fscking headl (1)

KjetilK (186133) | more than 13 years ago | (#533507)

So where did I say they went to jail for spamming? How about you reading the post?

OK, perhaps I should have posted what I posted in news.admin.net-abuse.email:

I just came across an article that reports that two spammers got two years in jail each for fraud

I'll nevertheless insist that what is relevant in this context is that they were spammers, and that they advertized their scam by mass e-mail.

Re:Good oder Bad? (1)

zzzeek (43830) | more than 13 years ago | (#533508)

true, but the tone of the slashdot post as well as the overall mood here is that spamming itself should be illegal as well. I think illegalizing mass-email itself is really dangerous, since such a law can likely be stretched by those in power to inhibit the electronic versions of things like policial campaigns, anti-government/corporate protests, boycotts, etc.

Re:jailed for scaming, not spaming (3)

Nehemiah S. (69069) | more than 13 years ago | (#533509)

The war on drugs qua drugs and drug users qua drug users is ridiculous. People should be able to do anything that doesn't hurt others- which means that we should definitely have a war on drug addicts who murder, rape, rob, etc., but only on those people, not on harmless druggies. Money laundering is a crime which hurts me by masking crime or by forcing me to pay higher taxes, therefore it should be enforced as well.

Spamming hurts me in less tangible ways- they eat my time and my bandwidth. I think that spammers should be fined, not jailed, at a rate proportional to the amount the person reading the emails would have earned in the amount of time he spent reading the email (say one second per word, with a minimum fine on the order of $.50). People could rate their email addresses at whatever amount the wished to, and the spammers could decide what price they were willing to pay to broadcast their spam. People who didn't pay the fines should go to jail.

That would bring unsolicited email barriers to entry up to the level of USPS mail, and help to solve the problems (as well as make me some money, fast.)

Neh

Re:Is spam *really* that bad? (2)

lpp (115405) | more than 13 years ago | (#533510)

Yes, but does the Constitution give the right for you to use my resources to communicate your message? Does this mean that if I am a book binder, that every book I print has to have a section somewhere that you are allowed to scribble whatever you want to in? So that my means of data transport is supporting your message?

Translation: When my mail server, including my bandwidth that I bought and my diskspace to cache your mail, is in subjugation to your spam email, I don't think it is any longer in the purview of Constitutional protection.

Consider instead putting up a website (where you pay for your own diskspace and bandwidth) and then putting listings to your website into popular search engines, even putting info into newsgroups intended for the purpose. But don't try to use my resources to push your message.

_lpp

Making money and the Internet (1)

cecil36 (104730) | more than 13 years ago | (#533511)

There are scams, schemes, and all kinds of other ways to make money on the Internet. Many people feel that spam is the best way to go, as they can reach millions of people (as it was shown in the article mentioned here). If e-tailers were smart (and there are some out there), they would be able to increase their sales and reduce their advertising expenses at the same time by just offering referral programs to their customers. Word of mouth advertising has been around since the dawn of commerce, and will never go away.

No envelope stuff jobs? (1)

OlympicSponsor (236309) | more than 13 years ago | (#533512)

I have to disagree, I stuffed many an envelope when I was a poor student back in '94-'95. Of course, that wasn't my only job duty and I wasn't Working From Home. Nonetheless....

I even asked the boss once, why I (I was working alone) was stuffing envelopes by hand when there are machines that do the same thing. He said something about how people were more likely to open an envelope that had been stamped by a human (actual physical stamp, applied less than perfectly aligned).
--
MailOne [openone.com]

Reporting Spam (1)

nlabadie (64769) | more than 13 years ago | (#533513)

For those who haven't seen it yet, this is a great resource for reporting spam.

http://www.spamcop.net [spamcop.net]

Re:Is spam *really* that bad? (4)

Zachary Kessin (1372) | more than 13 years ago | (#533514)

Yes it is. The problem with arguing this from a free speach point of view is this. You are free to go stand on a soap box on a corner and rant about whatever you feal like, simmilarly you can make up flyers and post them around town. That is protected.

The problem is that if I send 10,000 emails or more via 1 ISP you have used a lot of the resources of that ISP. You have basicly made them support you free speach. Which you do not have the right to do. Similarly if you send a letter to the editor of a newspaper he does not have to print it. So while SPAM may cost you or me as end users a few seconds of time in the case of an ISP it may tie up a mail server for hours, during which time other emails are being delayed.

The other thing is that just because we are arresting spamers (And in this case it appears that fraud was what they were arrested for) it does not mean that we are not also hunting down Murderers and Rapists.

The cure of the ills of Democracy is more Democracy.

SpamGuyInJail.Com - Day 1 (3)

Sand_Man (81150) | more than 13 years ago | (#533515)

CLANK. Lock
"uh, hi."
"Hi, you gotta' be my new cell mate."
"Well, yes. What are you in for?"
"Simple Assualt, but I didn't do it. What're you in fer?"
"Spamming."
"Huh?
"Spamming, you know, sending out large volumes of unsolicited e-mail from my computer."
"Uh-huh. Say, yer hands are soft, kinda' like a girl."
"Uh, gee, umm, thanks, er....."
"And yer kinda pertty, too, how long you in fer."

Tune in tomorrow for the exciting day 2 of SpamGuyInJail.com. In tomorrows episode we find out if SpamGuyInJail picks up the soap or just leaves it on the shower floor.

The prison cafeteria Menu (1)

Madman (84403) | more than 13 years ago | (#533516)

-egg and Bacon
-Egg, sausage and bacon
-Egg and Spam
-Spam, egg, sausage and spam
-Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam, Baked Beans, Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam

Realism (1)

lapsan (88119) | more than 13 years ago | (#533517)

Talk about slanting a story. They were put away for the scam, not the spam.

That aside, advocating putting people in prison for annoying business practices doesn't exactly jive well with having liberal free speech rights attitudes. If they've got the right to mail me advertising crap via snail then they damn well should have the right to do so via email. Whether I like getting the stuff or not.

It would be nice to see some sort of "party line" attitude when it comes to these Internet Free Speech Issues... but I don't think it'll ever happen.

Slashdot sensationalism (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 13 years ago | (#533518)

They where not jailed for spam. clearly slashdot put that in the headlines because they knew it would get people excited.
Spam has been ruled as protected as free speech.
Get over it.
I hate spam as much as the next guy, and I'm not sure if this is bad or good. I want free speech protected, and if we make spam illegal what next?
besides, I would rather get spam, than the damn dead tree ads I get in the mail.
What I would like to know is did they get more time because the used a computer in this crime, then they would have if they used the Postal service?
I think as a community we need to be watching out for sentences that are substantial longer for a crime committed on a computer then a simialar crime without one.

Re:Typical (1)

Sc00ter (99550) | more than 13 years ago | (#533519)

Figures, that comming from somebody that won't identify themselves.

excuse me if I don't like to see goats.cx links all over my site, and links to pictures of penises.
--

Re:jailed for scaming, not spaming (1)

walt-sjc (145127) | more than 13 years ago | (#533520)

And you have proof of this? Fraud costs us BILLIONS. Does anyone remember the S&L bailouts that we taxpayers had to deal with? And anyone remember WHY the S&L's failed? The fraud that happens everyday by corporations and government harms ALL of us. Murderers, rapists, and kidnappers only harm individuals.

Re:In my country: abuse of community resources (1)

SquadBoy (167263) | more than 13 years ago | (#533521)

But of course to build a Niven ring you would have to clean out the solar system, to include the Oort cloud. And so there would be no Earth to send them to but you could toss them into Sol. In any case sign me up. I'll send you my resume.

Watch out (1)

MeltyMan (262145) | more than 13 years ago | (#533522)

... or slashdot might slashdot slashduh... :)

(but they'd like it, id' bring their hits up over 5/day)

Re:jailed for scaming, not spaming (1)

TheCarp (96830) | more than 13 years ago | (#533523)

That depends what you mean by "more damage" now doesn't it.

I wont agree on Drug dealers... unless you are talking about when they cheat people out (making them fradulent) or engage in turf wars - all things that are products of prohibition, not the actual profession of selling drugs (pharmasists are in the same buisness)

However the others... does a single murderer or rapist who commits a single murder or rape do more harm to society than a single con artist who fraudulently cheats 1 "dupe"?

Ok yes, in that case I would agree with you. However, while a murderer may kill one person (usually out of rage; few murders are actually planned acts) or a rapist may rape a few before he is caught.... a con artist will go on ripping off person after person. Its a willfull, planned, calculated act

Thes particular con artists ripped off 12,000 people, in a rather trivial manner. If unpunished, they could easily do it again and again. I can't remember the last time 12,000 people were killed all in one act, at least not without the sanctioning of some government.

Should rapists and murderers be let go free? Hell no. They are horrid crimes that should not be allowed, but neither should fraud be allowed. They are theives.

Re:jailed for scaming, not spaming (1)

TekPolitik (147802) | more than 13 years ago | (#533524)

I want to see people jailed just for sending spam.

In Australia, somebody has been jailed for sending spam through unauthorised 3rd party relays - is that close enough?

Re:Sadly, they were convicted of fraud, not spammi (5)

Ralph Wiggam (22354) | more than 13 years ago | (#533525)

I sit across a very thin wall from the Pitney-Bowes machine you are referring too. It's a sweet machine but it has two problems that create human jobs stuffing envelopes: 1) It costs a half million bucks 2) It has major trouble doing fancy "non-standard" things that humans can do easily (like putting a card inside a folded letter).

Another thing keeping these machines out of normal office space is that it's about 25 feet long and runs at 90 decibles.

-B

The Fraudulent (2)

The Queen (56621) | more than 13 years ago | (#533526)

Not that I'm a Xian or anything, but isn't the lowest frozen level of Hell (according to Dante) the place where commiters of fraud go? (Personally I agree with you, but wanted to stir the pot a bit.)


"I'm not a bitch, I just play one on /."

Re:Is spam *really* that bad? (3)

nchip (28683) | more than 13 years ago | (#533527)

If spam is such a nice thing, why do most spammers fake their headers, their from address and obfuscate the url on the body? Why do spammers connect to internet with accounts they got with fake ID:s. Why do they abuse open relays to hide the real origin of the mail?

I don't think freedom of speech covers speech with fake identity.

Re:Is spam *really* that bad? (2)

rabidMacBigot() (33310) | more than 13 years ago | (#533528)

The free speech argument came up, IIRC, during the junk fax trials. Basically:
  • Commercial solicitations are not protected speech
  • The government may not restrict your right to freedom of expression, but you may not force anyone to listen to you. Furthermore, you may not force other people to pay to read/hear your views without their approval.

The only point spammers are making is "I am an inconsiderate bastard, and the cost of my advertising campaign will be yours entirely". They sure get the point across, but for the reasons outlined above, it's not protected speech under the first amendment.

Re:True reason? (2)

bad-badtz-maru (119524) | more than 13 years ago | (#533529)

==
This was a pretty liberal judge as it turns out, he had a laptop on his desktop the whole time. My cousin thought he saw what looked like gnome running on it but he couldn't be sure.
==

... and let me guess, Netscape was open and it looked like the judge was browsing slashdot.

Re:/. post is misleading (2)

Erasmus Darwin (183180) | more than 13 years ago | (#533530)

They got jailed for *FRAUD* not for spamming.

According to the article, they plead guilty to fraud back in December '99. Either it took 12 months for them to get sentenced or there was more to this case than just the fraud. The article implies that the impact their behavior had on several ISPs was a factor (either as a charge that didn't get explicitly mentioned by the article or a contributing factor during sentencing). I'd argue that the article is less than clear on the issue and most likely this was a detail that didn't overly concern the reporter.

Re:Is spam *really* that bad? (1)

BillyZ (169879) | more than 13 years ago | (#533531)

Ok, people REALLY need to start READING the articles before they "reply" to them. These people were jailed for running a scam that made them £288,000 (if my math is right, which it usualy isn't). The only way spam relates is that's how they ran the scam. That and probably a form of virus attached to the e-mail to propogate the spam to more people. There are no first amendment issues. From the article, "The men pleaded guilty to fraud charges..."

what i'm curious about, is if this was in Los Angeles, why are all the amounts in pounds(£) and not dollars($)?

Re:Is spam *really* that bad? (1)

chuqui (264912) | more than 13 years ago | (#533532)

Your right to free speech does not imply I have a responsibility to listen, or to pay for your speaking. "free speech" as an argument for spam fails for two reasons:

1) it forces me to hear what you have to say. You have every right to say it. You have no right to force it on me if I don't want it.

2) you use my resources to force me to see it. You want to say something? put up a system and pay for it. When you start forcing me to spend my money, for your spam, you're making me pay for your virtual printing press -- and there's no constitutional right making me pay for your babbling.

Re:Plea Agreements (2)

Restil (31903) | more than 13 years ago | (#533533)

Actually, its not really much of a mystery HOW. The reason these scams are still so prevalant is they work VERY well (for the scammer anyways). There are a lot of people in this world that will do almost anything for an easy buck that they will jump on any scam they are offered, sending in money blindly. Then when it doesn't work out, they'll jump on the next scam, even if it doesn't differ from the first one. This has been going on for years, even before the internet was popular.

Consider the fact though, 12,000 out of 50 million really isn't THAT many. A junk mailer doing this through the postal service wouldn't stand a chance of even recovering his money, let alone making a significant profit. But spam, its all gravy. That is why spam will continue to be prominant.

I do approve of the method of shutting them down though. Many times you don't even have to attack the act of spamming as most spammers are disreputable to begin with, and there is certainly some other legal issue you can snag them on.

-Restil

Re:/. post is misleading (1)

birder (61402) | more than 13 years ago | (#533534)

Either it took 12 months for them to get sentenced or there was more to this case than just the fraud

This is quite possible becuse the justice system moves INCREDIBLY slow. If you've ever seen it in action (and not tv version) you'd understand. Cases can drag on for 2-3 years.

Re:Realism (1)

buss_error (142273) | more than 13 years ago | (#533535)

Spam is commercial speech. Commercial speech does not enjoy the protections that free speech does. What's the diff? Free speech is saying the goverment is wrong, that you think a law should be changed, or that someone should be impeached.

Free speech isn't saying "Buy my product, you will lose 50 lbs fast!" or "Work from home and make millions!".

Also From Ananova - Man Survives On Water And Sun (1)

Sialagogue (246874) | more than 13 years ago | (#533536)

A lead article from their "Science" section:

MAN SURVIVES 0N 'WATER AND SUN FOR YEAR'
(Original here. [ananova.com] )

Excerpts:
A retired mechanical engineer in India claims to have lived off boiled water and the sun for the last 364 days.

Hira Ratan Manek is trying to prove that the human body can turn into a photovoltaic cell and convert the rays of the sun into energy.

(Snip. . .)

In The Times of India Mr Manek explained that, to become a "solar cooker", you start by looking straight into the rising morning sun for only a few seconds. Slowly you increase the time to minutes reaching up to 30 to 35 minutes.

(snip. . .)

Neuro-physician Sudhir Shah, who has been monitoring Mr Manek's health with a team of doctors, said: "We believe that this is a chronic case of adaptation syndrome where the body reduces its demand for energy after 16 to 30 days of fasting. This is done by downing the regulation of receptors."

Mr Shah does not rule out the possibility that the temporal lobe in the human brain, which is believed to control parapsychic activity like the sixth sense, may have been activated due to this process.

::: Moral: You just can't trust virtual hotties for hard news anymore.

Re:Sadly, they were convicted of fraud, not spammi (2)

brad.hill (21936) | more than 13 years ago | (#533537)

Yes, you can make $1 per envelope stuffed. Just take out a classified ad that says "Make money stuffing envelopes at home! Send $1 for information to P.O. Box 1234" Collect the dollar from every sucker you hook, and send them a copy of this set of instructions. It's not even fraud! ;)

Re:Realism (1)

Acrucis (132401) | more than 13 years ago | (#533538)

The difference is that people who send you junk snail mail have to pay postage, and don't hijack the USPS to do it.

Only first step (1)

TheWhiteOtaku (266508) | more than 13 years ago | (#533539)

Wow, I hope this eliminates the spam problem on the internet!

*Checks Inbox*

Apparently I could win $10,000,000 by emailing a reply to six friends, I can work from home in the real estate business making $200,000 a year AND for each time I forward this message 5 cents will be donated to a poor English boy without lungs.

Seriously, putting two spammers in jail is a good first step, but until all those bastards are rotting behind bars and worrying about dropping the soap, the world will continue to be annoyed.

Re:I guess it's too hard to read the fscking headl (1)

Zico (14255) | more than 13 years ago | (#533540)

C'mon, take yourself out of your shoes as submitter of this story and check out the Slashdot home page. Spam logo, headline about spammers, saying they were "jailed for two years after sending 50 e-mails." That's about as accurate as saying they were "jailed for two years after eating at Denny's that morning" — both are factually true, but neither shows any cause and effect: they were jailed for two years because they were running a scam, not because they spammed people.

Now, I could've been less venomous about it, and I probably wouldn't have even posted if not for the other two SNAFUs that I mentioned, but after getting ready to post on the subject until realizing the true nature of it, I decided to post anyway. No ill will meant toward you, just a carryover of my annoyance from the other stories. (FWIW, I was going to express disappointment. I don't like getting spammed, but for people around here to applaud jailtime for someone just because having to delete a few emails is an inconvenience, while bemoaning all these other "freedoms" that they supposedly have taken away from them all the time, well it just seems pretty hypocritical.)


Cheers,

It's A Good Day (2)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 13 years ago | (#533541)

Alan Greenspan says the Happy Words and I make a pile of money.

Two spammers in the slammer, gettin' to know real market penetration with Bubba.

All is right with the world.

Re:Is spam *really* that bad? (4)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 13 years ago | (#533542)

(snip "spam iz free speach" argument)

"Nothing in the Constitution compels us to listen to or to view any unwanted communication, whatever its merit. . . We therefore categorically reject the argument that a vendor has the right under the Constitution or otherwise to send unwanted material into the home of another. . . We repeat, the right of a mailer stops at the outer boundary of every person's domain."


- United States Supreme Court, Rowan vs. U.S. Post Office, 1970
Whether or not you agree with me that spam is theft by trespass to chattel, the US Supreme Court has long since ruled that unsolicited commercial mailings -- even when paid for by the vendor (as opposed to spam, where the cost is borne by the recipient) is emphatically not afforded protection under the First Amendment.

Spam is not free speech. Hasn't been for 30 years. Now go away, troll, or I shall feed you a second time ;-)

Law has no teeth (1)

jtseng (4054) | more than 13 years ago | (#533543)

And I'll tell you why:

  1. Alot of spammers leave a telephone number for you to call and leave a message. You really want to spend your money to do something that's essentially a waste of time and breath and will eventually be ignored?
  2. Spammers usually use a fake or disposable email address. The only thing you could perhaps do is track the email to the offending SMTP server and tell the admin to secure their box.
  3. Spammers' emails have links to "let you remove your email from their system." This is just another way to verify that they've pissed off a person at a legitimate address.
  4. Lately some spammers have been putting on a disclaimer saying "we can circumvent this law because we're sending out this delicious spam only once." In this case they're not even letting you have the chance of removing your name!

The only way to prevent spam is for the formation of a group that tracks down emails/phone numbers and kills these people. ;)

Re:/. post is misleading (1)

St. Vitus (26355) | more than 13 years ago | (#533544)

The post did not say they were jailed for spamming. Read it again.

I'm disgusted (3)

jafac (1449) | more than 13 years ago | (#533545)

that my tax dollars are going to feed these spammers and clothe them (in prison uniforms) and heat their cells, etc.

I think we ought to at least recoup the costs.

How many of you out there would pay for membership to the site:

"Live webcam: hot teenage spammer jailbirds getting their asses raped day and night."

sounds like a winner to me.

Jailed for moving? (1)

sharkey (16670) | more than 13 years ago | (#533546)

That's an AWFUL idea! My last apartment had asshole neighbors, and the circuit, any circuit I hooked it to, would blow every time I ran the microwave. The phone wires were in such bad shape that I was lucky to get connected to my ISP at all. Risking arrest just to move away from that dump? Even the Democrats aren't that dumb. (Well, maybe in Palm Beach.)

--

Re:jailed for scaming, not spaming (1)

Gone Jackal (108992) | more than 13 years ago | (#533547)

True, but, guess what? spam isn't illegal! Wow, who would have thought? Spam itself probably won't (and shouldn't) be illegal for a very long time; spammers are going to get jailed for related crimes, though, and if it takes fraud charges to put them there, I certainly don't mind. Think about Mr. Capone's sentence for tax evasion after years and years of murder, theft, and god only knows what else.

Besides, if there is ever a law passed against spam, it will be because of cases like this. If you notice, the dumbest articles posted around here, even if Mrs. Taco and Hemos never realize it, are interesting for reasons never alluded to in the post.

Re:Lets give em a taste of what they gave us (1)

sharkey (16670) | more than 13 years ago | (#533548)

AND...

Offers for deviant, homosexual rape web sites.

--

I'll tell you what I'd pay for... (2)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 13 years ago | (#533549)

I'd definitely buy into this if I could type a taunt on a web page and have it displayed on one of those LCD banners outside their cell for them to read. Or perhaps a mechanical vegetable catapult that you could use to pelt them with rotting vegetables. That'd be worth a few bucks a month to me...

Re:Fines in Washington (1)

chuqui (264912) | more than 13 years ago | (#533550)

here on /., there are two discussions going on simultaneously, and it seems some of the same users are in both.

In one, people are being righteously indignant that France has the audacity to tell Yahoo not to send data into the country that France finds offensive.

In this discussion, people are talking about how we need to stop spammers from sending us data we find offensive.

It's okay for the state of washington to pass a law outlawing spam (whatever spam is. Most people seem to define spam as "whatever I point at and call spam"). it's not okay for the country of france to pass a law outlawing nazi memorabilia. We find spam offensive. They find nazi memorabilia offensive. But it's okay for US to ban spam, and not okay for THEM to ban nazi memorabilia.

anyone else see a double standard here? Or are our ethics basically boiling down to "if we're for it, it's okay, if we're against it, it's not"?

If it's okay for the US (or a part of the US, like Washington) to ban spam -- why isn't it okay for France to ban what it thinks ought to be banned? Especially since so much spam these days originates from non-US hosts, either because the spammers are out there, or because spammers are using overseas relay machines.

AARGGH! Mind-bending Slashdot hypocracy... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#533551)

It's driving me crazy (not really, but it's annoying).

In the story (and I think that's an overly generous term for it) just below this one the Slashdot consensus and unconcealed editorial bias was that society was hoplessly totalitarian oppression and the only solution was super-extra-libertarian quasi-anarchist Freedom.

Now, everyone is cheering for people being jailed (actual jail, no rights at all, hellish violent existence) for sending email. Of course the story is incorrect, but both the posters and the editorial commentary approve of jail for the spammers based on the misinformation.

So to sum up, we should have rights to own guns and sell Nazi stuff on Yahoo, but we should be locked up for sending lots of email.

OR

The idea that a company would voluntarily* censor the sale of racist knick-knacks on a computer system is an ominous sign that "1984" is near, but a government putting real people in real jails for sending annoying email is a step in the right direction.

Could someone explain this to me. I think I'm behind some firewall that blocks the Slashdot groupthink brainwaves.

*This was due to government pressure from France not from the US, the country Yahoo does business in.

Re:Internet Idiot Quotient (IIQ) (1)

JLester (9518) | more than 13 years ago | (#533552)

That's why spam will never stop. It's unbelievable that there are that many idiots out there that respond to these messages. As long as they do though, the spammers will have a huge incentive to keep doing it.

Jason

next target? (1)

the_tsi (19767) | more than 13 years ago | (#533553)

Let's convince the gov't to work on Sam Khuri for a while. I mean, he IS in contempt of court sending out more Benchmark Print Supply spam, even if he's stripping the company name off the emails these days.

-Chris
...More Powerful than Otto Preminger...

No step at all (1)

SnakeStu (60546) | more than 13 years ago | (#533554)

Seriously, putting two spammers in jail is a good first step...

Actually, I think it's meaningless in terms of spam control. They were jailed for fraud, not for spam, if I understand the article correctly. What is of more concern to me and is entirely unaddressed by this so-called "first step" is the 12,000+ fools who sent money to spammers. That the spammers were fraudulent in this case is beside the point -- the key issue is that so many people are so willing to prove the spammers "correct" (I won't say "right" because that could imply a moral judgement that I certainly wouldn't agree with).

The only "good first step" of relevance will have nothing to do with law, and everything to do with technology. And I don't mean filters or other patchwork currently in use; I mean real developments that make spam impossible to begin with, rather than trying to minimize its impact. A pre-authorization token mail system would be a "good first step."

Re:jailed for scaming, not spaming (2)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 13 years ago | (#533555)

>Drug smugglers and dealers and lords, murderers, rapists, and kidnappers do much more damage to society than fraudulant idiots...

Please differentiate your crimes. While I agree the original poster was a bit over-the-top, he's got a point.

Spam is theft - spammers steal resources from ISPs and recipients and deliver a "product" nobody wants.

Fraud is, well, fraud - merely a more sophisticated form of theft, whereby the theft is accomplished by deceiving the "mark", rather than brute force, such as abusing an open relay.

Drug "crimes" - well, if the stuff were legal and regulated (umm, like alcohol and tobacco), the "smugglers" wouldn't have jobs, and the "dealers" would be regular guys behind the counter of your local grocery store. Drug "lords" would just be CEOs of, umm, tobacco companies? ;-)

If your argument is that "drug folks" cause harm to users of drugs, might I remind you that most of those drug users choose to use their drug of choice? They're not victims, they're customers.

If your argument is that "drug folks" cause harm to the rest of us, might I ask you to differentiate between the harm caused by the individuals on drugs (drunk/stoned drivers), as opposed to the harm caused by crimes (usually theft) committed by users to either (a) obtain drugs at artificially-inflated prices, or (b) the crimes (usually murder/assaults) committed by those in the industry to protect marketshare/turf. Legalization would likely greatly cut down on both of these forms of harm.

Unlike drug users, however, murderers, rapists and kidnappers all cause harm without the consent of their victims.

And in that respect (my own turn for hyperbole), the murderer, rapist, and kidnapper really do have more in common with the spammer (a variant of "thief") than individuals involved in the (illicit) drug industry.

(Of course, if you wanna nail the Board of Directors of $BIG_TOBACCO_INC for fraud for saying that smoking tobacco doesn't cause cancer, I'm with ya. At least your local drug dealer has the integrity to say "y'know, this shit'll kill ya!" as you fork over the dough :-)

Re:Fines in Washington (2)

Darchmare (5387) | more than 13 years ago | (#533556)

Your argument is flawed.

France is a country doing something on the behalf of its people, not a person itself. It's quite possible that there are a few people in France who want Nazi or KKK regalia for whatever reason. France has taken it upon itself to tell those people that they cannot purchase these items. This is obviously an issue based in subjective morality - in other words, France thinks it knows what's better than its citizens. This may or may not be true, but it's not really the issue here.

On the other hand, spam is by definition not solicited. It is unwanted and unasked for. It is also effectively a form of 'postage due' advertising, where the recipient pays the cost of distribution and storage. And while Yahoo only takes money from those who want the products advertised within, spam is (once again, by definition) sent to people who aren't given the opportunity to opt-out before they ever see or pay for it.

Your analogy would be correct if France were complaining about Yahoo forcing people to pay for Nazi and KKK stuff they didn't want. This is not the case.

Spam is not and never has been about content. I don't care if it's porn or something from a mainstream corporation - it's about cost shifting, not the content itself. It's about not being forced to effectively pay for the extra resource consumption your ISP incurs via higher usage fees.

(note: I work as an abuse handler at a mid-sized web hosting company, and know that we could afford to charge our customers less if spammers didn't take up so much time and resources)


- Jeff A. Campbell

Re:Did they REALLY get jail time? (1)

SomeoneGotMyNick (200685) | more than 13 years ago | (#533557)

ALL ISP's need to block outgoing port 25 from cablemodems / DSL / dialups. Require users to use the ISP's mail servers.

That'll piss off anybody who runs a website through a virtual server located offsite from their ISP. Most ISP's wouldn't want to take the time to reconfigure their servers to every unique domain name being used for e-mail on multiple virtual web sites.

Been there, done that, switched ISP's because of it.

How to sue a spammer (3)

dmuth (14143) | more than 13 years ago | (#533558)

http://www.suespammers.org/ [suespammers.org] .

In addition to have a witty domain name <g>, it also contains information on existing state laws [suespammers.org] which can be used to sue a spammer in court.

Share and enjoy.

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