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Microsoft to Fight Crime With Spammer's Millions

samzenpus posted more than 9 years ago | from the crime-is-futile dept.

Microsoft 310

daria42 writes "It looks as if the $7 million Microsoft won from spam king Scott Richter won't go into a Swiss bank account and never be seen again after all. The company plans to dedicate a cool $5 mil to helping law enforcement agencies address computer-related crimes. Another $1 million will go to New York State to "expand computer-related skills training for youths and adults", with the rest being flagged to pay Microsoft's legal costs."

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Dupe of the week (-1, Offtopic)

smooth wombat (796938) | more than 9 years ago | (#13293416)

Yup, you're not losing your mind. You did see this article previously [slashdot.org] .

Re:Dupe of the week (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13293437)

You didn't notice the subtle difference in this story then?

Re:Dupe of the week (1)

Bluey (27101) | more than 9 years ago | (#13293438)

At least this time they had the decency to include a link to the previous slashdot posting, which contains a link to the previous article, which contains the information in today's posting.

Yanno, cause otherwise it could have been confusing.

Re:Dupe of the week (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13293444)

Not quite a dupe but it does have more of a followup.
Microsoft putting money in New York State to educate the youths.

Re:Dupe of the week (0, Offtopic)

daniil (775990) | more than 9 years ago | (#13293450)

Sir, I dub thee 'The Boy that Cried "Dupe!"

Re:Dupe of the week (3, Informative)

Aim Here (765712) | more than 9 years ago | (#13293452)

It's not a dupe, it's a followup. If you'd Read The Fucking Blurb, you'd see a link to the very same article (different URL though, admittedly).

Re:Dupe of the week (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13293454)

I guarantee this is not a dupe. I would certainly remember seeing MS doing something good :-)

Re:Dupe of the week (1)

Veamon69 (904767) | more than 9 years ago | (#13293505)

But it's only good if it goes towards something with Linux...otherwise, theres a conspiracy!

Re:Dupe of the week (1, Offtopic)

smooth wombat (796938) | more than 9 years ago | (#13293502)

I'm replying to my own posting (yeah, bad form be damned) so that I can quote the following from the original article:

Smith said that Microsoft will reinvest all of the money, after legal expenses, including $5 million that will go to increase Internet enforcement efforts and expand technical and investigative support to help law enforcers to address computer-related crimes.

So I ask the question: how is this a follow-up to the previous article when in fact the linked article is a day behind the original article and only restates things?

Not to mention that the article I had submitted [excite.com] had all of the information and more than the original article but was rejected.

So yes, it is a dupe.

Also, how can the first post about a submitted story be Redundant? Oh right, it's Thursday. That means an extra dose of crack to carry you over til Friday.

Re:Dupe of the week (0, Offtopic)

daniil (775990) | more than 9 years ago | (#13293536)

You do realize that to get all this information, one would have had to read all of the original article? Tut, tut. Yeah, the article might be kind of dupish, but in my opinion, it's justified this time (even though the article is quite boring).

Hmm... (5, Funny)

Darren Winsper (136155) | more than 9 years ago | (#13293430)

Does this mean we're going to see Bill Gates in a bizarre spandex outfit combating spammers around the world? I smell a Ben Affleck film!

Re:Hmm... (4, Funny)

GreyPoopon (411036) | more than 9 years ago | (#13293518)

I smell a Ben Affleck film!

No, that's my vomit that you smell. ;)

Re:Hmm... (1)

wknoxwalker (901812) | more than 9 years ago | (#13293621)

I agree with the parent; the first image I had when I read the headline was of a new, microsoft funded range of superheroes. "We have the technology".. I think it might be a better use for the money than the current destination. How much of the money to fight crime will be spent curbing 'piracy' and 'illegal software useage', compared to some of the realer issues the internet faces, (in my eyes, child porn, spam and other more anti-social ills).

Re:Hmm... (1)

Darth_brooks (180756) | more than 9 years ago | (#13293729)

I smell a Ben Affleck film!

Check the bottom of your shoes, I think you stepped in something.

I keeeed, I keeeed

Not enough (1, Insightful)

Perl-Pusher (555592) | more than 9 years ago | (#13293434)

When you have billions you can be really generous with millions. The price of good advertising is probably higher. Giving the paltry five million away buys a lot of good will from New York state.

Re:Not enough (1)

datadriven (699893) | more than 9 years ago | (#13293478)

So true, that 5M is roughly equivalent to throwing a quarter in the tip cup at your local coffee shop.

Re:Not enough (1)

Cat_Byte (621676) | more than 9 years ago | (#13293785)

$5M to one organization that simply tracks down spammers or whatever else they do is enough to keep them going for quite some time. Spend a few $100K on equipment, probably about $50K/person salary average, other costs of business....this is probably more than everyone thinks. Unless it's an obscenely large department that is out of control on spending, this should tide them over for awhile and alieve the need for them asking for more tax $$ or laying people off. Everyone is comparing the contribution to total MS $$ rather than the contribution to the receivers needs.

Re:Not enough (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13293501)

too bad people are so mindlessly entrenched in their little fascist states that the point that its money going to cops is overlooked completely.

microsoft is big brother. new york is a police state. population BB passion doubleplusungood.

Re:Not enough (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13293503)

Ok, MS decides to donate 5 million and it is a PR stunt. They don't and they are sleaze-bags for keeping all the money. Can people be satisfied at all these days? You could've better pulled a "5 million not enough, should have given more" and it would have been more insightful then whatever you just said

Re:Not enough (4, Insightful)

goldspider (445116) | more than 9 years ago | (#13293509)

It's called charity for a reason; they're giving of their own free will. Who are you, or anyone, to tell somebody else how generous they should be?

Charity, when compelled through coersion or threat, is just a nice word for slavery.

Re:Not enough (3, Insightful)

jkrise (535370) | more than 9 years ago | (#13293558)

I think the GP points out rightly that it isn't 'charity' when the intention is not noble... read PR. Also, 5mn is a miniscule microscopic portion of the amount MS spends in R&D anyways, so it's doubtful this money is gonna help fight crime or spam. Or improve the IT skills of the average New Yorker.
-

Re:Not enough (0)

goldspider (445116) | more than 9 years ago | (#13293609)

And I repeat that the GGP has no place to judge the merits of someone else's charitable work. He is, of course, free to donate to a cause he deems worthy.

Re:Not enough (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13293642)

And we can be sure that what little the GGGP donates, we'll not have a Slashdot article on it. This article only furthers the PR dividend for MS, and the effect on cyber-crime and cyber-intelligence is going to be zero.

Re:Not enough (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13293673)

Then perhaps the Slashdot editors shouldn't have posted the story and further the Evil Empire's PR campaign.

Of course, I suspect the prospect of a good old-fashioned M$-bash-fest was simply too tempting.

Re:Not enough (4, Insightful)

DigitumDei (578031) | more than 9 years ago | (#13293651)

1. Bash Microsoft no matter what they do.
2. Get mod points
3. ???
4. Profit!

As always this is slashdot. If MS closed up shop, put their source code in the public domain, and gave all their money to starving street kids, close to half the posts would be insulting them or questioning their motives.

Re:Not enough (0, Redundant)

halber_mensch (851834) | more than 9 years ago | (#13293638)

I think the GP points out rightly that it isn't 'charity' when the intention is not noble.

Also when the money is table scraps from the strongarm lawsuit campaigns that Microsoft has ben flinging around. I am wary that this 'donation' is purely a persuasive gesture - which comes at zero cost to Microsoft - intended to persuade the public that Microsoft should be free to flex its litigious muscles - because when Microsoft wins a case, well we all win now don't we?

Re:Not enough (2, Insightful)

Mr_Silver (213637) | more than 9 years ago | (#13293648)

I think the GP points out rightly that it isn't 'charity' when the intention is not noble... read PR. Also, 5mn is a miniscule microscopic portion of the amount MS spends in R&D anyways, so it's doubtful this money is gonna help fight crime or spam. Or improve the IT skills of the average New Yorker.

Who cares if it's such a small percentage? The recipients of the $6 million that Microsoft didn't actually have to donate to them definately don't care.

$6 million is a hell of a lot of money irrespective of who gives it and their own monetary situation. Don't look a gift horse in the mouth.

Unless of course you would have rathered that Microsoft kept the entire lot for "legal fees"?

Re:Not enough (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13293667)

who is he to judge someone elses intentions with charity. It really pisses me off when people slag off companies when they give to charity, if enough people slag them off then eventually they will stop doing it. Just be happy they gave to a good cause rather than to a PR company. Charity whether it is done for your own PR or purely from the bottom of your heart is irrelevant.

Thank you, Ayn Rand (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13293580)

Yeah.

Nobody's saying they HAD to do it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13293605)

What he's saying is for MS brag about donating 7 mil is like your throwing a nickle in a Salvation Army pot and bragging about it.

I don't even call it charity, I call it cheap advertising. If it were truly charity you would have never heard about it.

Re:Nobody's saying they HAD to do it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13293627)

No matter what MS does, how they do it, or how much they do, you will be critical of them. 7 million may be a small amount compared to what they make, but they also spend quite a bit more on other charities. Not only that, but if they had done anything else with the 7 million from the lawsuit, ya'll would still be flaming MS.

Put down your MS flaming stick (which you've positioned up your collective asses) and realise MS did the only thing it could do with the money. You all kept making claims and flaming them for what they would 'likely' do with the money; you were wrong. And now that they didn't do what ya'll suspected they'd do, you're bitching because they did something good with it?

Re:Nobody's saying they HAD to do it (1)

goldspider (445116) | more than 9 years ago | (#13293644)

But of course Slashdotters would likely piss and moan about how greedy M$ was to pocket that $7 million.

Either way, no matter what they did with the money, Slashdot would find some way to disparage them for it.

Re:Nobody's saying they HAD to do it (1)

Marc2k (221814) | more than 9 years ago | (#13293792)

No, not really. Given the size of Microsoft's legal team, I wouldn't have been suprised if they would have put the $7 Million right back into the company, nor would I have moaned on Slashdot about it. In fact, in this case I'd _rather_ see it going back in Microsoft's pockets--especially into their security division--because they could put it to good use developing quality software. But no, as someone pointed out, this 'charity' is a drop in the bucket, both for what Microsoft can afford to give, and for what would actually be needed to create an effective body for fighting computer-related crimes. On top of that, yeah, this is basically a well thought-out PR move meant to bolster Microsoft's philanthropy ratings, making them look like the good guy for much less than a cheap ad campaign.

Oh, and for the record, 'charity' when coerced is called modern government, where the governing body efficiently and effectively takes care of their own (that is to say, the constituents, not the politicians), while being an upstanding member of the global community. Oh, to live in such a place.

Re:Not enough (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13293607)

It's called charity for a reason; they're giving of their own free will. Who are you, or anyone, to tell somebody else how generous they should be?

Don't you dare question NeoLibs. They know whats best for my money, your money, and certainly MS's money.

Re:Not enough (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13293672)

"Charity, when compelled through coersion or threat, is just a nice word for slavery."
Charity, when widely publicized, is just a whitewashed word for advertising.

Anyway, who's telling Microsoft how generous they should be? This is a discussion group, we're discussing, and there's damned good reason for cynicism about Microsoft's motives.

Re:Not enough (1)

Skye16 (685048) | more than 9 years ago | (#13293681)

That's a little over the top, isn't it? To me, it implies only charity, when compelled through coersion or threat, is a nice word for slavery. What about _anything_ else that is compelled through coersion or threat? Wouldn't those be other nice words for slavery? Is a parent who insists his/her child puts their toys away after playing with them a slave owner? Is the child then a slave? What about being told to keep the noise down in my apartment? Am I now a slave because my neighbors demand quiet at 3am?

If so, I say the word "slavery" has no meaning. Everyone on the planet is then a slave, in one way or another. Progressing through this argument further, if everyone is a slave, then surely it's a question of degree. Can you honestly say "forcing someone to give 3$ to the United Way" is anything like being kidnapped, chained up aboard a ship, taken to a new land, sold to the highest bidder, forced into labor (possibly sexual), beaten or whipped when performance is not living up to expectations, and then cast aside when they no longer serve a purpose? This still happens even today. Are they both slavery? Possibly. Are they close in terms of degree? I would say no, not even fucking remotely.

Re:Not enough (0)

goldspider (445116) | more than 9 years ago | (#13293713)

"What about _anything_ else that is compelled through coersion or threat?"

I wasn't talking about "anything else", just charity.

"Can you honestly say "forcing someone to give 3$ to the United Way" is anything like being kidnapped, chained up aboard a ship, taken to a new land..."

Certainly, the scope is different, but the underlying absense of free will is the same.

Re:Not enough (1)

Skye16 (685048) | more than 9 years ago | (#13293736)

I know, I was expanding the argument. If charity can be used, so can anything else. You, in specific, were using charity, but there is no reason that anything that is compelled through coersion or threat is a nice name for slavery. And maybe that's true, but, again, it's a question of degree. And, frankly, if we're all slaves, then it's only the truly horrific degrees that I will concern myself with - everything else is relatively inconsequential.

Re:Not enough (1)

Skye16 (685048) | more than 9 years ago | (#13293768)

Sigh, I meant:

"You, in specific, were using charity, but there is no reason that anything compelled through coersion or threat won't be a nice name for slavery."

My apologies for any confusion.

(I fucking hate this "It's been 4 minutes since you last successfully posted a comment" bullshit. I've had it go up to 34 minutes before. Maybe it'll work if I post this using the-cloak.com ;x)

Re:Not enough (1)

Perl-Pusher (555592) | more than 9 years ago | (#13293685)

Hmm! Looking back at my title I should have been more specific. It's not enough money for a billion dollar company to worry about keeping! I didn't mean it was a slam on Microsoft, just a shrewed business move. I think the spammer got off too easy. The courts should go after the source of the spammers income too.

Re:Not enough (1)

SiO2 (124860) | more than 9 years ago | (#13293692)


Charity, when compelled through coersion or threat, is just a nice word for slavery


I think the word extortion is more appropriate than slavery.

SiO2

Re:Not enough (0)

goldspider (445116) | more than 9 years ago | (#13293730)

And I call it "taxation". :)

Re:Not enough (1)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 9 years ago | (#13293695)

Actually, it's the U.S. laws of corporate governance that say say a corporation can't be altruistic. Publicly traded corporations must maximize profits of their shareholders.

I can't find the actual law that says this, but people who seem reliable cite summarize the law, including:

http://www.resurgence.org/resurgence/issues/hinkle y213.htm [resurgence.org]

Re:Not enough (1)

dakkon1024 (691790) | more than 9 years ago | (#13293786)

Charity? Call it what you want but this is no different then a retail store hiring a security guard.

Re:Not enough (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13293570)

Hey, MS is a for-profit company. They don't have any obligation to fight spammers. They could do just like 1 million other software companies around the world and do absolutely nothing. But what do they do? They actually take a spammer to court, and when they win they donate the millions earned to the fight. And you have the stomach to say it's not enough? Enough for what, for whom?

Anything more than 0 is "enough".

Look up what Bill has given to Charities (1)

jasonhamilton (673330) | more than 9 years ago | (#13293594)

He has given away an ungodly amount of money.

23 billion dollars given (1)

jasonhamilton (673330) | more than 9 years ago | (#13293745)

Bill Gates, who is considered, the wealthiest man in the world, has started his very own foundation called the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced on 6/6/01, that in the first half of the year, Bill and Melinda Gates have given their charitable foundation an additional $2 billion, bringing the total endowment of the foundation to $23.5 billion. http://www.gatesfoundation.org/ [gatesfoundation.org]

Asshole (-1, Flamebait)

DogDude (805747) | more than 9 years ago | (#13293714)

When you have billions you can be really generous with millions.

And what percentage of your income, pray tell, do you give to charity? C'mon, big spender. We want to know.

Re:Not enough (1)

D-Cypell (446534) | more than 9 years ago | (#13293747)

How did I know that the top post on this story would be slamming Microsoft because they didnt do more.

I am no fan of Microsoft software, I spend a good deal of time discussing Microsoft alternative with friends, family and collegues, but frankly people with your attitude are hurting this cause.

When folks read posts like yours they begin to get the impression that people who critize microsoft do so because it is 'trendy' to hate the leader. They then assume that my evangulism of tools like Firefox are just due to techie jealousy.

Microsoft have done some good here. They have seriously hurt a spammer and they have used some of the proceeds to help the community. Ok, its reasonably good PR but I, for one, would rather they got their advertising from acts like than from greasing the already very greasy palms of mass media.

You can only cry wolf so many times.... lets do it when it counts!

Re:Not enough (1)

cptbarkey (906688) | more than 9 years ago | (#13293778)

i think this token donation is rather retarded, this kind of money should be donated to law enforcement instead to help prosecute them, that is more of the challenge!

Not So Cool! (1, Interesting)

BackOrder (592581) | more than 9 years ago | (#13293449)

It's not explicity written in the article that the money will go against spammers. Instead, it is said about crime. We can only suppose computer crimes. It's much larger than spamming and one might believe it's just a PR stunt where they will simply use 5$ million dollars to fight against people who "illegaly" obtain Windows Vista, maybe?

Spam Spam Spam, on Spam (-1, Offtopic)

azrane2005 (860037) | more than 9 years ago | (#13293451)

A monopoly from spam money eh? I see a Monty Python skit in the making.

Computer-relasted skills? (-1, Redundant)

jkrise (535370) | more than 9 years ago | (#13293457)

"Another $1 million will go to New York State to "expand computer-related skills training for youths and adults"

Youths...(sic) and adults to get computer-related skills training? Like, MS Office and How-To-Start-Windows-XP?

-

Re:Computer-relasted skills? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13293479)

Youths...(sic)

Why, what should it be?

And you're on shaky ground criticizing, "relasted"-man.

Re:Computer-relasted skills? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13293676)

Well, these kind of skill would be actually pretty useful in the real world. Real world, as in: what happens outside of your parents basement.

Excuse me for being cynical !! (5, Insightful)

Gopal.V (532678) | more than 9 years ago | (#13293462)

a cool $5 mil to helping law enforcement agencies address computer-related crimes.

Crimes like piracy of Windows ?. Patent policing ?. More SCO like allegations on newer projects that imitate or duplicate Microsoft products ?.

Another $1 million will go to New York State to "expand computer-related skills training for youths and adults"

Train them to use Outlook, Word and Excel or do they mean .NET,C# and Monad ?. Sort of catch them young approach ?.

I've seen a lot of Microsoft charity - it's often just building a new market for themselves, locking in an expanding market or blatant tax evasionary steps . They sent 250 XP Cds to a school and mark the cost as donations. I went on TV to help FSF guys call foul on that in Kerala - apparently it seems to have made some impact there (they teach about using OpenOffice and FireFox now).

Essentially the money is in Microsoft's pockets and they are trying for Maximum ROI, rather than paying it out as dividends to their shareholders right now.

Re:Excuse me for being cynical !! (0)

A beautiful mind (821714) | more than 9 years ago | (#13293596)

I guess the saying goes like: "Beware Greeks even though are bearing gifts"

MS does not donate, they invest: be it PR or else.

Re:Excuse me for being cynical !! (1)

BlackCobra43 (596714) | more than 9 years ago | (#13293737)

You ARE aware 5 million, distributed amongst the shareholders, would result in a fraction of a cent per share?

10.68 billion shares spreading 5 million....I doubt the shareholders would lose much sleep over it. This is essentially free money for MS that they decided to give for some PR.

Basically I agree with you but disagree that possible dividends should even be invoked.

computer related crimes. (-1, Flamebait)

Hallow (2706) | more than 9 years ago | (#13293463)

How much you wanna bet this $5 mil gets donated to help law enforcement agencies curb piracy?

Perhaps "donation" will go straight into the coffers of the Business Software Alliance [bsa.org] ?

Re:computer related crimes. (2, Insightful)

tymbow (725036) | more than 9 years ago | (#13293526)

To be honest about this... good.

We have probably all done it at some stage (piracy that is), and flame wars aside about ethics and monopolies, it's really time for people to pull their heads out of their collective butts and accept that it is stealing (and no I don't want an argument about definitions. I know nothing physical was taken, but under current law it's still stealing. Don't like it? Get the laws changed).

This doesn't mean I'm against pushing for change in the software industry, and moving to OpenSource (where it makes sense) but people have got to accept that it's not right, no matter what your politics, views or anything else are.

Re:computer related crimes. (1)

Hallow (2706) | more than 9 years ago | (#13293628)

Oh, I don't mean that "stealing" windows is a good thing, just that microsoft will be spending the money on themselves most likely, but are spinning it as a "donation".

Bzzt, thanks for playing (1)

Svlad_Cjelli1972 (549201) | more than 9 years ago | (#13293640)

Under current law it is NOT stealing, although the powers that be would love it that you perceive it that way.

Re:computer related crimes. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13293738)

We have probably all done it at some stage (piracy that is), [...] I know nothing physical was taken, but under current law it's still stealing.

Wow! I'm impressed! That's the biggest troll I've ever seen and without any good argument or explaination, worse than the GNAA.

Two small details you forgot: I don't and never pirated anything AND this is not stealing, just copying bytes over a network and you seem to lack this essential knowledge.

Re:computer related crimes. (4, Interesting)

Darth_brooks (180756) | more than 9 years ago | (#13293790)

If it's going to law enforcement, It'll end up going to the "OMG Kiddie PorN!!!!!!!! It's teh evil!!!!!" fund.

Don't get me wrong. Child pornographers deserve their own special ring of Hell. But it seems that to law enforcement, computer crime == kiddie porn. Period. No other crime occurs on a computer. Ever. Just child porn. Nothing else. End of line.

There are other crimes occuring involved the magic, glowing grey box.

DMCA and IP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13293466)

Yeah, they will dedicate all those funds to making criminals out of those who they deem to be outlaws by violating IP, DMCA and other draconian statutes that they've pushed through congress. Gee, what stand up guys they are.

Computer related crimes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13293467)

are most likely to be, in MS's eyes, the ones that the BSA fight. Don't expect this money to fight more spam.

Cheap deal (-1, Flamebait)

tod_miller (792541) | more than 9 years ago | (#13293471)

Paying $5mil to get people to enforce your whim, suddenly computerized crime targets OSS DVD players and MythTV media center software.

Hurrah.

Thank you, Microsoft... (1)

webphenom (868874) | more than 9 years ago | (#13293474)

...for continuing to contribute to the world of technology and helping to make our world a better place.

I guess there is something to be said for companies who want to profit from their hard work. Hmmmm.

Please.... (-1, Troll)

Himring (646324) | more than 9 years ago | (#13293476)

$5 million to Microsoft is like a $5 tip to the rest of us. This is almost as humorous as NBA players getting fines of $1000s....

Re:Please.... (1)

alnjmshntr (625401) | more than 9 years ago | (#13293562)

Huh? This is not a fine and whether it is like a $5 tip to the rest of us is completely irrelevant. MS have won a major lawsuit against a spammer (which we should all be happy with) and are giving away the proceeds to other organisations. They could have just pocketed the money and left it at that. Is that what you're saying they should have done? Or are you just karma whoring on anti-ms cynicism?

Re:Please.... (1)

Himring (646324) | more than 9 years ago | (#13293598)

I know it wasn't a fine. Call that an ... um, inverse analogy.

Look, I'm having a bad day. This damn thing [gprime.net] stole my cursor....

Re:Please.... (0, Offtopic)

Himring (646324) | more than 9 years ago | (#13293626)

I protest my "redundant" score, cuz at the time I started the post no one had said it yet. I mean, this is like quantum physics and stuff. Hey! What I just said is at least interesting....

Someone mod up previous poster....

moderator..... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13293740)

Actually I have to agree with this guy. His comment wasn't really redundant and shouldn't be modded so. Any moderator care to sort this out?

"Punitive damages" and "loser pays" (2, Interesting)

ReformedExCon (897248) | more than 9 years ago | (#13293482)

First, I'd rather Microsoft come out on top than spammers.

But I am interested and baffled by the concept of "punitive damages" and how they are paid to the litigating party rather than to the general tax revenue base. If a company or person is to be punished for doing something wrong, shouldn't the government be the one to mete out that punishment? Why should a private citizen or company be allowed to reap the windfall of punitive damages? I think the justice system turns the court into a lottery by allowing such huge awards to be paid to offended parties.

In a sense, Microsoft is doing what I think ought to be done with punitive damages. That is, 1) to pay the winner's court expenses, and 2) to have the government receive the punishment money. Not that I don't think that Microsoft isn't doing this out of self-serving long term planning, but I do agree with the action (perhaps not their guiding principle).

I would like to see more spammers put out of business. However, as long as there are people willing to buy their products, spammers will be out there trying to bilk them.

No "punative damages" (1)

goldspider (445116) | more than 9 years ago | (#13293780)

This was a settlement, not a judgement. Hence no punative damages.

$1 mil for lawyer? (4, Funny)

cloudmaster (10662) | more than 9 years ago | (#13293484)

This appeared to be a straightforward case, but somehow I can still see the lawyer, holding his pinkie to his mouth and saying "Sure, I can help you prosecute this spammer. For one million dollars!"

Typical Slashdot Cynicism (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13293507)

No surprise the the article and comments have taken the sarcastic and cynical route. You guys here seem to never be satisfied with anything Microsoft does.

The fact is Microsoft has no obligation to use this money to do anything. But they make a nice gesture, and nobody here can say one positive word? There's not one good outcome out of this?

The bitterness with Microsoft got old and stale 10 years ago. It's past time you people gave up this hatred and obsession with the 'Borg'.

Re:Typical Slashdot Cynicism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13293802)

IMHO a nice gesture would be donating money to a few inner city schools to help maintain the school and buy a load of supplys (books, chalk, etc).

Although microsoft *have* done a sort-of-nice-but-self-serving gesture you should be able to see where the critisism's coming from. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for big business giving back to communities but as I said above, I'd much rather see a contribution that underfunded schools can use to improve education than teaching a load of people how to write an MSWord document.

Kudos to microsoft for donating the money but a slap on the wrist for trying to ensure some extra market share.

Spitzer blew it first time (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13293523)

Another $1 million will go to New York State to "expand computer-related skills training for youths and adults",

This is to cover for the embarrassing $50,000 that Eliot Spitzer (NYAG) settled for with Richter the first time around. I couldn't believe it when I read it the first time, that the AG was settling with Richter, one of the worst spammers in the world, for $50,000. That really showed that Spitzer was outmaneuvered by Richter or Richter was so good at covering his tracks the first time around, especially since MS was involved with the first investigation also.

Knowing a bit about NY politics/showboating since I'm from there, it seems that Spitzer must've insisted on doing things his way the first time around and ended up with the ridiculous $50,000 settlement. With MS taking the lead this time (MS is issuing the press releases on this one this time, Spitzer issued the press releases with the last settlement), it certainly appears MS did a much better job investigating and nailing Richter than Spitzer could ever dream of.

That million for New York is still going to be touted by Spitzer as a joint effort, and he'll be taking the credit for providing that money to schools (because of his investigation) during the gubernatorial election which everyone knows he's running for. $50,000 for arguably the king of spam. Pocket change to him. Richter must've wet himself laughing when his lawyer told him how much the settlement was for the first time around. Looks like 2nd time's the charm in this case.

Re:Spitzer blew it first time (1)

fistfullast33l (819270) | more than 9 years ago | (#13293811)

The reason why he could only get $50,000 dollars was because he could only get $500 per each count of the law that Richter violated. Richter settled with Spitzer for 80 counts of violating GBL Section 350-d, the False Advertising Statute. That amounts to $40k plus an extra $10k for legal expenses of the state of New York.

I'd check your facts before you bash Spitzer. The legislature makes the laws and the Attorney General enforces them. The paltry $500 is the fault of the legislature in this case. You can check out this link [internetstockblog.com] on Spitzer's anti-spyware case for more info on the $500 per count. The law itself is printed here [findlaw.com] . The PDF of Richter's settlement is here [state.ny.us] .

Somehow this will be "bad" (-1, Offtopic)

airjrdn (681898) | more than 9 years ago | (#13293531)

And yet somehow, the /. community will find something wrong with what Microsoft is giving away.

Re:Somehow this will be "bad" (1)

LarsG (31008) | more than 9 years ago | (#13293601)

New here? :)

In this part of the noosphere, guilty until proven innocent is the standard applied to MS. And given MS' past behaviour that shouldn't be a surprise.

Personally I can't see anything wrong with MS going after spammers, and would applaud it if they continue to do so.

Yea right. (-1, Flamebait)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 9 years ago | (#13293532)

How much do you want to be that the $5 million to "help law enforcement" will be $5 million worth of Windows Vista licenses?

Hmm... (0, Redundant)

MaestroSartori (146297) | more than 9 years ago | (#13293543)

...just had a horrible thought of Bill Gates in a Batman costume. Old Batman that is - you know, spandex.

My eyes! :S

Re:Hmm... (2, Funny)

hcpxvi (773888) | more than 9 years ago | (#13293716)

Surely, a benign thought compared to Steve Ballmer as Robin. Not to mention Linus as (duck now, you can hear it coming) the penguin.

Re:Hmm... (0)

216pi (461752) | more than 9 years ago | (#13293722)

immediately remove that horrible picture from my mind!

di34 (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13293548)

See! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13293551)

Spammers are good for community! Thanks to spammers, law enforcement and poor lawyers have been paid!

Records (1)

Elitist_Phoenix (808424) | more than 9 years ago | (#13293600)

I hope we will see paper records and outcomes from these promises.

Sheriff of New York (1)

solomonrex (848655) | more than 9 years ago | (#13293656)

So, basically, they're betting that Eliot Spitzer is our next governor? I mean, why else single out NY, except that ES goes after big corporations like a fame-seeking pit bull with rabies.

Legal fees (1)

rasty (212471) | more than 9 years ago | (#13293658)

...the rest being flagged to pay Microsoft's legal costs

With "the rest" amounting at $1mil, it's not too surprising Microsoft won! :)

i dont understand..... (1)

brizok (890492) | more than 9 years ago | (#13293666)

as far as im concerned the money doesn't belong to them in the first place....i dont know about you but i get a whoooole lot of spam. why does one company..being microsoft or not, ever even get the ability to sue this guy. Don't get me wrong I'm glad that the spam king is done for. But (in my eyes) Microsoft is giving money away that doesn't belong to them in the first place.

Re:i dont understand..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13293739)

unbelievable. MS chases spammers and does good for a change and still losers like you can only bitch and moan about how they didn't have the right to the money anyway. Grow UP. shit if they gave everything they had to the hungry of the world you would still bitch and come up with some bullshit that they were hungry because MS overcharged everyone and stopped others from helping the hungry.

News? (0)

ChrisF79 (829953) | more than 9 years ago | (#13293694)

Didn't we hear about this a few days ago?

grow up (1)

DavidMHodgey (870476) | more than 9 years ago | (#13293707)

i think your all pretty sad bashing microsoft for giving money to charity. i mean, sure they could easily afford to give more. but we should be thanking them for giving anything at all. grow up and stop bashing microsoft just because its what you do. i have have nothing but respect for a man such as gates who gives so much to charity, and besides, much of it isnt slammed all over the papers like ./'ers seem to imagine it is. i genuinly think he's a good person.

Re:grow up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13293773)

I agree. Slashdot is just becoming sterotypes anyway. They have to have 2-3 google stories everyday even if it is like google news have RSS feeds. (oh please, everyone has RSS these days). And then goes out of their way to find an anti-microsoft story. I never heard a single word about microsoft charity for aids etc through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. When sometime back Gates donated money for a building in GaTech, everyone was still fussing. Did you hear Google CEO's doing anything like that ? Don't give me a crap about $1 salary, that is one hell good way to save on taxes (ask Steve Jobs).

Sometimes I feel slashdot is just like CNN and FOX, another source for biased news (filter yourself).

Re:grow up (1)

Perl-Pusher (555592) | more than 9 years ago | (#13293809)

i think your all pretty sad bashing microsoft for giving money to charity.

I wasn't bashing your precious Microsoft. I was pointing out it wasn't enought for a Multibilion dollar company to worry about keeping. They get more by buying goodwill. It's a business decision that has nothing to do with the concept of good or evil except in the public perception. If anything the "not enough"offended you, apply it to the spammer. Fine him enough for MS to worry about keeping some of it.

yay! good thing we have Microsoft! (0)

jaiyen (821972) | more than 9 years ago | (#13293727)

Feels weird writing that on slashdot...

Sounds like one of those movie pitches... (1)

InThane (2300) | more than 9 years ago | (#13293752)

There's some generator on the web that makes random movie plots, sounds like something that it would come up with:

Microsoft and a Spammer's millions team up. Together, they fight crime!

Call me skeptical... (1)

deadsquid (535515) | more than 9 years ago | (#13293777)

...but I'd like to see if the $5M is actual cash, or an equivalent amount of Microsoft product. Many companies donate product and use their MSRP in calculating the value of a donation, then spin that into a nice story where they talk about their generosity. Is the money they donate going to be in the form of infrastructure software, end-user applications, and company-specific training, or will it be cash to specific organisations for the purpose of hiring, training, and equipping personnel.

Also, which agenicies will get the money to fight crime? Will it be traditional law enforcement, or will it be a group like the Business Software Alliance?

$5M sounds nice up front, but before I say "gosh, that's great", I'd like to hear what exactly they're giving, and to who.

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