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Fired AOL Engineer gets 15 Months

CowboyNeal posted about 9 years ago | from the forward-to-the-big-house dept.

Spam 371

n3hat writes "A former America Online software engineer was sentenced to 15 months in prison for stealing 92 million screen names and e-mail addresses and selling them to spammers who sent out up to 7 billion unsolicited e-mail messages, according to this A.P. story in the Baltimore Sun."

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In a related story... (4, Funny)

losman (840619) | about 9 years ago | (#13352963)

AOL still blows and we are amazed people still use it.

I know, I know... probably a flamebait rating but come on, you know you giggled!

Re:In a related story... (4, Interesting)

`Sean (15328) | about 9 years ago | (#13353076)

June 22, 2000 (from http://www.inertramblings.com/archives/000439.html [inertramblings.com] ):

America Online: A sucker born every minute...

According to a corporate press release dated June 16, 2000, America Online has surpassed the 23 million member mark. Founded in 1985, AOL has been a household name to novice computer users worldwide. Unfortunately, many of these novices don't know that they're only seeing a small portion of the Internet and are being limited by AOL's proprietary and archaic interface.

Now, it's fairly safe to make the assumption that at least a quarter of AOL's 23 million customers are simply short-term users along for the free trial or jumping from service to service looking for the best deal. And, using that same line of thinking, roughly half of those 17.25 million remaining customers are probably smart enough to see AOL for what it really is and cancel their service in a desperate fit of fight or flight.

That leaves approximately 8.63 million customers that use AOL as their primary Internet Service Provider, give or take a random three quarter million people at any given time signing up or canceling. With this in mind, and approximately 7.88 million minutes in AOL's 15 year history, this proves that a sucker really is born every minute.

Re:In a related story... (3, Insightful)

securitas (411694) | about 9 years ago | (#13353126)


Or maybe it means that novices sign up to become familiar with interacting with the online world.

Once they've become comfortable with using a computer and an online service, they feel that they can take the training wheels off and find things on the Web for themselves. The most common Internet activities are e-mail, Web and chat. You don't need AOL for those.

Pwned (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13352967)

Pwned

fp (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13352968)

freakin polite

Lucky guy (5, Interesting)

igny (716218) | about 9 years ago | (#13352976)

He has got just 1 second of jail per 175 emails.

Re:Lucky guy (0)

Eightyford (893696) | about 9 years ago | (#13353027)

If you put it that way it sounds like he's gotten off easy. But, as soon as he drops the soap once, I'm sure that you wont think he's too lucky anymore!

Mr. Software Engineer meet your new roomy, he goes by the name of BTK.

Maybe not... (2, Funny)

Saeed al-Sahaf (665390) | about 9 years ago | (#13353044)

But, as soon as he drops the soap once, I'm sure that you wont think he's too lucky anymore!

He's NOT that cute.

Re:Lucky guy (0, Troll)

HeroreV (869368) | about 9 years ago | (#13353151)

At first I thought BTK stood for Big Thick Kock. I don't see what Dennis Rader has to do with anything though.

Re:Lucky guy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13353167)

OK, how many people submitted this story 2 days ago when it actually hit the news wires? Me, for one. I guess Slashdot had to reject it so they could instead post crap like this [slashdot.org] . Yay, someone else is considering Linux, big fucking deal.

Re:Lucky guy (0, Redundant)

SimplexO (537908) | about 9 years ago | (#13353168)

He has got just 1 second of jail per 175 emails.

Yes, but is it "federal, pound me in the ass prison," or just prison with conjugal visits? If the former, then those seconds might be well-spent.

Re:Lucky guy (1)

ElVaquero (867318) | about 9 years ago | (#13353223)

Which is about the time it takes for anyone to delete the mail.

ARTICLE TEXT (0, Redundant)

GroundWire (671102) | about 9 years ago | (#13352979)

NEW YORK - A former America Online software engineer was sentenced yesterday to a year and three months in prison for stealing 92 million screen names and e-mail addresses and selling them to spammers who sent out up to 7 billion unsolicited e-mail messages.

"I know I've done something very wrong," a soft-spoken and teary Jason Smathers told U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein.

The judge credited the 25-year-old former Harpers Ferry, W.Va., resident for his contrition and efforts to help the government before he pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges. A plea deal had called for a sentence of at least 1 1/2 years in prison.

In a letter from Smathers to the court, part of which was read into the record by Assistant U.S. Attorney David Siegal, Smathers tried to explain the crimes that AOL has said cost the company at least $300,000 and possibly millions of dollars.

"Cyberspace is a new and strange place," Siegal said Smathers wrote. "I was good at navigating in that frontier, and I became an outlaw."

As the judge indicated he would be lenient toward Smathers, Siegal told Hellerstein that the public needs to learn from the case that the "Internet is not lawless. The public at large has an interest in making sure people respect the same values that apply in everyday life, on the Internet."

The judge said in imposing the reduced sentence that he recognized that Smathers cooperated fully with the government but did not have the kind of information that would have helped to build other criminal cases.

First plea rejected

He said leniency was appropriate for "someone who tries hard to bare his soul but doesn't have the information the government needs."

In December, Hellerstein rejected the first attempt by Smathers to plead guilty, saying he was not convinced Smathers actually had committed a crime. The judge accepted the plea in February, saying prosecutors had sufficiently explained why he had.

Smathers has admitted that he accepted $28,000 from someone who wanted to pitch an offshore gambling site to AOL customers, knowing that the list of screen names might make its way to others who would send e-mail solicitations.

The judge has recommended $84,000 restitution, triple what Smathers earned. The imposition of restitution was delayed to give AOL a chance to prove that the damages were much greater, after the judge suggested the $300,000 damage figure was subjective.

Prosecutors said Smathers had engaged in the interstate transportation of stolen property and had violated a new federal CAN-SPAM law, short for Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act, which is meant to diminish unsolicited e-mail about everything from Viagra to mortgages.

In December, the judge said he had dropped his own AOL membership because he received too much spam.

America Online Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Time Warner Inc., has since launched a major assault on spam, significantly reducing unsolicited e-mail.

Smathers was fired by AOL in June. Authorities said he used another employee's access code to steal the list of AOL customers in 2003 from its headquarters in Dulles, Va.

Still circulating

Smathers allegedly sold the list to Sean Dunaway of Las Vegas, who used it to send unwanted gambling advertisements to subscribers of AOL, the world's largest Internet provider. Charges are pending against Dunaway.

The stolen list of 92 million AOL addresses included multiple addresses used by each of AOL's estimated 30 million customers. It is believed to be still circulating among spammers.

The judge refused a Probation Department recommendation that Smathers be banned from his profession, saying he trusted Smathers had learned his lesson.

KARMA WHORE. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13353062)

post this shit anonymously you stupid bastard

Re:KARMA WHORE. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13353118)

Jesus christ man, go take a pill before you blow a vein or some shit.

Re:KARMA WHORE. (1)

Eightyford (893696) | about 9 years ago | (#13353251)

Why post anonymously?

Re:ARTICLE TEXT (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13353127)

Why the fuck are you posting this, asswipe?

MOD PARENT DOWN (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13353137)

Do you think the Baltimore Sun will get slashdotted?

FF: First FAILURE!!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13352980)

Score:-1, Troll

define irony (4, Funny)

Fox_1 (128616) | about 9 years ago | (#13352983)

Obligatory Family Guy joke: "Remember last week when you asked me to define irony and I said - urarghhh!" AOL personally kept me supplied with floppy disks during my school dayz, and many a cd coaster when I started working IT. These guys are the king of snail mail spam (virus(AOL8) laden cd's anyone :) and here this guy goes and follows their lead online, further screwing over the poor AOL customers. I love it.

Re:define irony (1)

davmoo (63521) | about 9 years ago | (#13353166)

But there is a difference.

When AOL sends their crap through snail mail, AOL themselves is paying for it to be sent.

When spammers send their email, they are using bandwidth that other people have to pay for.

Re:define irony (1)

Mantus (65568) | about 9 years ago | (#13353199)

I would argue that since the USPS historicly has lost money, particulaly several years ago (before priority mail began to boom with online stores) that your argument isn't 100% true.

Re:define irony (1)

Fox_1 (128616) | about 9 years ago | (#13353233)

In this case the spam was going to AOL customers, so AOL was paying for it :) but I aknowledge your point.

This website was his customer (-1, Offtopic)

MRSLASHDOTRTTR (902325) | about 9 years ago | (#13352984)

His first customer actually [overheardintheuk.com] .

Re:This website was his customer (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13353178)

You are a sack of shit, spammer.

Re:This website was his customer (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13353226)

Mod parent down: spamming

Hypothetical Prison Conversation (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13352989)

The setting: Prison cafeteria.

Prisoner #1: So what're you in for?
Prisoner #2: Aggravated assault. You?
Prisoner #1: Armed robbery. How 'bout you?
AOL Engineer: I stole 92 million screen names and e-mail addresses and sold them to spammers who sent out up to 7 billion unsolicited e-mail messages.
Prisoners #1 and 2 inch away from AOL Engineer at the lunch table

Re:Hypothetical Prison Conversation (0, Redundant)

Hellasboy (120979) | about 9 years ago | (#13353026)

No, but take a wild guess who's going to be made their bitch.

Further details / This looks strangely familiar (4, Informative)

securitas (411694) | about 9 years ago | (#13352993)


AOL E-mail Data Thief Gets 15 Months in Prison

AP's Larry Neumeister reports that the AOL employee who sold 92 million stolen e-mail addresses and screen names to spammers has been sentenced to one year and three months in prison [businessweek.com] . Jason Smathers sold the list to spammers for $28,000, who then proceeded to send as many as 7 billion spam messages. The prosecutor in the case estimated 'AOL suffered a loss of 10 cents for every 1,000 spam e-mails sent to subscribers.' The judge suggested that Smathers pay $84,000 in restitution [cnn.com] but will decide on the final figure after AOL files details of financial losses due to increased staff, hardware and software costs. An interesting note: Judge Alvin Hellerstein said in December that he canceled his AOL subscription because he received too much spam.

2005-08-17 21:42:32 AOL E-mail Data Thief Gets 15 Months in Prison (Index,Spam) (rejected)

Re:Further details / This looks strangely familiar (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13353072)

Gee, could it have been your 100 character hyperlink?

Re:Further details / This looks strangely familiar (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13353221)

I don't think so. I submitted a story once and the editors just arbitrarily changed where my hyperlink was when they published it.

Re:Further details / This looks strangely familiar (1)

Deitheres (98368) | about 9 years ago | (#13353258)

You're expecting /. editors to........ edit?

You must be new here.

So... (5, Funny)

Lally Singh (3427) | about 9 years ago | (#13352998)

How many years are AOL's management getting for... well, managing AOL.

Re:So... (1)

superpulpsicle (533373) | about 9 years ago | (#13353148)

They should be banned from this planet for suggesting the mass production of 8 trillion AOL CDs a year to everyone's mailbox every state every day. Which probably attract 1 customer out of 100 free CDs.

Why jail? (5, Insightful)

Eightyford (893696) | about 9 years ago | (#13353003)

I've never understood why non-violent criminals are even put into jail. Instead of us taxpayers paying about 25 grand a year for this guy(a number I pulled directly out of my ass, by the way); he should be forced to repay the damage that he has done. And, if it takes the rest of his life, then so be it; just don't let the guy declare bankruptcy (another thing I've never really understood).

Anyways, save jail for the murderers, rapists, and child molesters of the world. Make people like this guy, Martha Stewart, and Bernie Ebbers repay they're debt in other more productive ways.

Re:Why jail? (0, Flamebait)

Smelly Toejam (881618) | about 9 years ago | (#13353029)

screw that, they should all be executed. and I don't mean the long expensive process of death row... just a bullet to the head on the spot.

Re:Why jail? (1)

Eightyford (893696) | about 9 years ago | (#13353064)

I agree for the worst offenders like Dahmer, Homolka, Michael Jackson etc. But only if the evidence against them is 100%. It's easy to let someone wrongfully accused out of prison. Not so easy to voodoo them back to like a la Weekend at Bernies 2.

JK about MJ by the way.

Re:Why jail? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13353119)

Please folks, this is why you should not post stoned...

Re:Why jail? (4, Insightful)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | about 9 years ago | (#13353056)

Repayment is only a deterrent if the perp has been less than successful. A millionaire spammer (Richter?) could consider that just the cost of business, and be on his merry way.

Re:Why jail? (2, Interesting)

Eightyford (893696) | about 9 years ago | (#13353094)

Right, but what if he has to give up all of his money? Sounds fair to me.

Re:Why jail? (1)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | about 9 years ago | (#13353143)

Even the offshore accounts, in his brother-in-law's name?

Re:Why jail? (2, Insightful)

Seumas (6865) | about 9 years ago | (#13353169)

That's why all the guys who ran Enron and Worldcom are in jail.

Oh, wait...

Re:Why jail? (1)

mar1no (559482) | about 9 years ago | (#13353196)

So charge him millions instead...

Re:Why jail? (2, Interesting)

JohnsonWax (195390) | about 9 years ago | (#13353227)

Repayment would be a deterrent if it were proportional to the crime. It's part of the reason why RICO provides for 2x damages. If you made $10M as a spammer and had to repay $20M, even successful criminals would be deterred.

I work hard and don't mind paying taxes for the benefits I receive, but money earned in the conviction of a crime should be returned to those it came from *and* an equal sum paid to the taxpayers for having to put up with the assholes in the first place.

I sure wouldn't mind if Ebbers and Co. could be compelled to put $11B into the local, state, and federal coffers. If they can't pay up, I'm sure there are some boys in Fallujah who wouldn't mind giving up their place for a fellow citizen who needs a good way to repay their debt to society.

Re:Why jail? (1)

log2.0 (674840) | about 9 years ago | (#13353074)

Bankruptcy is just a social safety net. What if someone sued you for $5 mil and won on something that wasn't really your fault. Assuming you dont have $5 mil, you can go bankrupt, suffer for a few years and you're out. Otherwise you would have to sell yourself as a slave or something else just as stupid :)

Re:Why jail? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13353245)

Would somthing stupid include... becoming his butler?

Re:Why jail? (1)

Silent1 (546110) | about 9 years ago | (#13353101)

don't forget pot smokers, the real killers!

Re:Why jail? (5, Interesting)

value_added (719364) | about 9 years ago | (#13353117)

just don't let the guy declare bankruptcy (another thing I've never really understood)

Such debts can't be discharged in bankruptcy court.

Re:Why jail? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13353136)

you have never met a non violent criminal have you

just because they didnt take a knife to someones throat doesnt mean they didnt harm others.

maybe this guy didnt, but he deserves to be punished.

how about scam artists, they are non violent? lets just let them be on their merry way to rip off the next family

you need to get some perspective on things, violence isnt the only harm that can come of crime.

Re:Why jail? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13353205)

I do not believe the grandparent meant to just let them move on, but that the cost of keeping a prisoner is to high to justify this kind of prison use.

In theory, the scammer can be made to help society in some way (I'm not sure what, but there must be something). This would save some tax money that would have been spent on prison, and also helps society.

Re:Why jail? (1)

QuantumG (50515) | about 9 years ago | (#13353220)

punishment is for children and dogs. People who break the rules of society should be excluded from society. In the old days of the city state that ment shoving them out the front gate to wander the wastelands. Today it means locking them in prison.

Re:Why jail? (1)

Lord Apolon (805331) | about 9 years ago | (#13353213)

I think exactly the same thing every time I see one of these stories. You even have the same solution that I have... Let the punishment fit the crime. Paying for their crime, literally, is a far better solution than jail time, which only costs society. Especially if the price they have to pay is, say, double the amount of monetary harm they caused. That should serve as something of a deterrent. Jail should only be for violent criminals, people who present a physical threat to individuals or society. Glad to find I'm not the only one who doesn't start foaming at the mouth whenever spammer cases come up. Eightyford, I salute you.

Re:Why jail? (5, Insightful)

dal20402 (895630) | about 9 years ago | (#13353239)

I agree with you that, in general, too many people are in jail.

But in cases of very costly (to the rest of us) and profitable (to the perp) white-collar crime, there is very little else that can serve as a deterrent. White-collar criminals tend to have a different attitude from low-level drug offenders: they aren't desperate or sick, and don't even recognize that what they're doing is wrong. Instead, they feel no guilt about gaming the system in any way possible (speaking in generalities, of course).

If you fine them, they'll hide their money (as another poster said). If you try to leverage their knowledge, they'll fail to cooperate. As long as you let them have their freedom, they'll find a way to beat you. The way to make them think twice is to take away their freedom.

If we put one white-collar perp in jail for every five low-level drug offenders we let out and put into intensive treatment programs, we'd make the market a more honest place and solve a lot of social problems at the same time.

AOL help desk employee (0, Redundant)

Mattygfunk1 (596840) | about 9 years ago | (#13353004)

I'm sure AOL email account holders would have a higher "hit rate" for spam conversions.

Maybe he should be punished by having to work doing AOL support from prison.
__
Sick videos. Seriously disgusting. [laughdaily.com]

That's quite a feat. (3, Insightful)

Rocky1138 (758394) | about 9 years ago | (#13353009)

I wonder how he stole them? And how long did it take for him to give them back? Did they ever find them?

The truth of the matter is... (4, Insightful)

jhfry (829244) | about 9 years ago | (#13353017)

of those 92 million, only about 2 million actually use aol mail... the rest are people who used up thier free trial and moved on.

I mean seriously, you expect me to believe that AOL has 92 million paying customers?

Honestly if I were a spammer, I'd only pay half price for AOL addresses, the odds of someone reading your email (especially after filtering) is nearly zero.

Re:The truth of the matter is... (2, Insightful)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | about 9 years ago | (#13353040)

92 million screennames. A lot unused, of course, but each paying account can, and often does, have several screen names/email addresses. Each sucking down all that glorious spam.

Re:The truth of the matter is... (5, Informative)

Paradise Pete (33184) | about 9 years ago | (#13353130)

I mean seriously, you expect me to believe that AOL has 92 million paying customers?

Not if you'd RTFA, and noticed where it said "The stolen list of 92 million AOL addresses included multiple addresses used by each of AOL's estimated 30 million customers."

Re:The truth of the matter is... (1)

ethx1 (532391) | about 9 years ago | (#13353211)

I have never used AOL but don't ISPs let you register an email address with them regardless of who the email provider is. They just want a way to reach you. Maybe that's what this guy sold, the email addresses they had on file.

Re:The truth of the matter is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13353238)

I mean seriously, you expect me to believe that AOL has 92 million paying customers?

No... AOL hovers at something around 25 million customers (21.7 million according to the March 2005 figures). And many users have multiple emails/logins.

a quote from Heavy Metal popped into my head (3, Funny)

zephc (225327) | about 9 years ago | (#13353019)

"He's nothing but a low-down, double-dealing, backstabbing, larcenous perverted worm! Hanging's too good for him. Burning's too good for him! He should be torn into little bitsy pieces and buried alive!"

Indeed.

Pwned. (-1, Offtopic)

mentatchris (585868) | about 9 years ago | (#13353023)

Wow. Guess who just got a new boyfriend in prison. Odds that the computer guy will get handed around like a bag of doritos?

Lemme get this straight (5, Interesting)

DSP_Geek (532090) | about 9 years ago | (#13353024)

Kevin Mitnick prowls around some machines, steals nothing, damages nothing, yet spends four years in jail waiting for his trial, gets a five year sentence, and has to stay away from computers for another few years, while this fucknuts steals a subscriber list for spammers and gets a slap on the wrist? Doesn't even have to stay away from other people's mail servers? Riiight.

Read TFA (4, Insightful)

Alomex (148003) | about 9 years ago | (#13353138)

If you read TFA you'll see that the AOLer got off easy because he pleaded guilty very early on. In contrast this Kevin Mitnick nitwit is even now trying to play the victim and not really sounding contrite about it.

Re:Lemme get this straight (0)

p0rnking (255997) | about 9 years ago | (#13353142)

Mitnick didn't steal anything?

Mitnick allegedly copied and removed "... a substantial portion of the source code of
Sun's Solaris 2.x ...", he also allegedly stole "... software design for a NEC cellular mobile telephone [which] is valued at one million seven hundred fifty thousand dollars
($1,750,000.00). The value is based on the development costs for the stolen software."
He also is said to have stolen "... the source code for the PCX telephone" from Fujitsu Network Transmission Systems, Inc. The total that they put on this was $2,100,000.00.

What's his cellmate's name and address? (5, Funny)

www.sorehands.com (142825) | about 9 years ago | (#13353025)

I think we all should send his cellmate bottles of penis enlargment pills, viagra, cialis, cialis soft tabs, Jackrabbit vibrators, and everything else we get from spam.

All in the name of poetic justice.

Re:What's his cellmate's name and address? (5, Funny)

Eightyford (893696) | about 9 years ago | (#13353043)

There's no way in hell that I'm sending him the money I'm getting from my new Nigerian friend!

It should be here any day now...

Re:What's his cellmate's name and address? (3, Funny)

Deodat (897896) | about 9 years ago | (#13353092)

Do you really think they're ever going to give you that money? It's local pickup only!

Re:What's his cellmate's name and address? (1)

Austerity Empowers (669817) | about 9 years ago | (#13353090)

Well if my modpoints hadn't expired I'd have given you a +1 funny.

Just curious (3, Interesting)

hackstraw (262471) | about 9 years ago | (#13353030)

Does anybody actually know the charge he was convicted of? I looked at the article and it mentioned pleas and taking "stolen property" across state lines, and CAN-SPAM, but none of these were clear as to what he was actually convicted of.

Anybody?

Re:Just curious (1)

shmlco (594907) | about 9 years ago | (#13353249)

Right. How can all those bits and bytes be "stolen property"? Every single one of those AOL members still has their screen name and email address... ;)

If my calculations are right... (-1, Redundant)

Black Parrot (19622) | about 9 years ago | (#13353033)


That's about half a second in jail per name stolen.

Everyone All At Once Now... (4, Funny)

jpiggot (800494) | about 9 years ago | (#13353036)

"You've Got Jail !"

Re:Everyone All At Once Now... (0, Flamebait)

Seumas (6865) | about 9 years ago | (#13353108)

Asshole. I totally had that written and formatted and copied and ready to paste as soon as the story went live, but then I got pre-occupied with.... uh.... something.

Shit.

What else could you say? (1)

DoubleRing (908390) | about 9 years ago | (#13353042)

"I know I've done something very wrong,"

Come on, what else could you say...
"I just stole 92 million email addresses and sold them...sorry guys, I didn't know what I was doing."

Re:What else could you say? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13353096)

"I aided spammers, but they only hurt AOL users, what's wrong with that?"

He's a smelly pig, and he's going to jail! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13353047)

You heard.

Camp Cupcake (3, Funny)

CompuSwerve (792986) | about 9 years ago | (#13353054)

He better pray for solitary confinement. Bubba and his posse are all fiercely loyal AOL users and they don't NEED no \/i@GR@ or Ci@li5.

Ahh.... (-1, Redundant)

eno2001 (527078) | about 9 years ago | (#13353068)

...let the ass raping begin. ;P

If you are a spammer, let that be a warning.

Oh come on... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13353079)

what's the point in selling 92 million email address? any dictionary attack worth it's weight will have found 80%+ of those accounts anyway... with 92 million of these suckers, any <random_string_of_characters> @ aol.com will almost certainly come up with a match, or at least a partial match.

Re:Oh come on... (1)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | about 9 years ago | (#13353097)

what's the point in selling 92 million email address?

Making $28,000 from a fool who is setting up an offshore gambling site.

15 months is all he got?!? Opinion folks - fair? (2, Interesting)

ACK!! (10229) | about 9 years ago | (#13353102)

I mean he stole a ton of personal info and stuff.

There are a lot of hardcore hackers that got a ton more time than that.

Tell me what you think?

Re:15 months is all he got?!? Opinion folks - fair (1)

thegamerformelyknown (868463) | about 9 years ago | (#13353172)

I think that hacking is something hyped up by the media and the government higher-ups as something that will harm us etc etc, and in many ways that's true (dumbasses - see worms, virus's, crackers, etc). So, when a hacker is caught, there is much media attention, and the price of damage probably gets multiplied several times.

But then you get to things like spammers, which is an annoyance, but has never really harmed anyone visibly. It is simply an annoyance, somethign that people have learned to deal with.

So, when it comes to a case involving one or the other, the sentence is added accordingly, albeit a little unjustly.

Re:15 months is all he got?!? Opinion folks - fair (2, Insightful)

Mazem (789015) | about 9 years ago | (#13353208)

It all comes down to fear. People fear "hackers", and so hackers get tougher sentences.

Everyone understands the notion of an employee stealing personal information from their company. On the other hand, the average
American has no clue how hardcore hackers do what they do, or what they are capable of and so naturally hackers are feared. They are the "boogey man" of technology.

AOL Customors (1)

Azadre (632442) | about 9 years ago | (#13353103)

For that many people shouldn't he be held responsible for each and everyone of their woes?

bfd (3, Interesting)

ErichTheWebGuy (745925) | about 9 years ago | (#13353104)

From what I understand, there are several robot programs that go through AOL chat rooms and suck down screen names for use in spam operations. I would suspect that that technique is:

- more effective, since all of the addresses you gather are known good
- cheaper, since you can get millions of addresses a week then cancel your free trial
- less risky

A spammer that pays that kind of money for such a seemingly worthless list of stolen addresses should look for another line of work.

Time for Master Card Ad: (4, Funny)

Comatose51 (687974) | about 9 years ago | (#13353113)

Cost in dolars delete spam from your AOL account: $5
Cost to have CompUSSR repair your PC from spyware: $150
The look on the spammer's face as he see "Bubba" get a penis enlargement spam: Priceless

There are some things money can't buy, for everything else there's KARMA!

You've got Jail! (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13353115)

Sorry, just could not pass up that opportunity...

Re:You've got Jail! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13353135)

hahahaha... that was truly funny, the only funny joke I've seen here all week. congrats

Mod parent up :) (0, Offtopic)

Phil246 (803464) | about 9 years ago | (#13353230)

mod parent as funny pls :)

Russian Spammer's Meet The Proper Fate (2)

thecaramelsensation (895142) | about 9 years ago | (#13353122)

Have to wonder...Will he end up like that Russian Spammer? Murdered :)

I must say, that fate should befall all spammers...

He got 15 months? (4, Funny)

craXORjack (726120) | about 9 years ago | (#13353129)

The most I've ever got from AOL was 1 month free.

Is Jason Smathers considered to be... (2, Funny)

callipygian-showsyst (631222) | about 9 years ago | (#13353145)

Is Jason Smathers considered to be megafauna? [slashdot.org]


Take a look at his photo so you'll know what I mean....

Sentencing (1)

Elitist_Phoenix (808424) | about 9 years ago | (#13353162)

This type of person should get a day in jail and fined $2 for every email address they sell.

Also Spammers should get a day in jail for every email they send and fined $2 as well. Furthermore the should be made to take one viagra pill for every email they sent advertising it.

Please don't call him an "engineer" (0, Flamebait)

callipygian-showsyst (631222) | about 9 years ago | (#13353180)

I spent a lot of time, money, and effort so I can legally call myself an "engineer". Don't let some VB script "software programmer" use that title. It's offensive.

Yet another reason I am ashamed to be an AOL user. (0)

MSFT_Lover (902210) | about 9 years ago | (#13353181)

I hate AOL, but the only reason my dad has it is because I cam not old enough to get my own ISP, and for some crazy reason my dad likes AOL, so that is what I am stuck with. But, I don't actually use AOL, other than for connecting. Then I minimize it and use Avant browser and Trillian messenger, and my Gmail email address. Now I know why even though i don't even use AOL's email, I get all this spam. Wonderful. *sarcasm*

Re:Yet another reason I am ashamed to be an AOL us (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13353225)

A microsoft lover? Wow, you aren't going to last very long...

Too bad the prosecuting attorney ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13353183)

... wasn't Martha Siegel [wikipedia.org] instead of David Siegal. He would have gotten off.

Next (4, Insightful)

TRRosen (720617) | about 9 years ago | (#13353222)

what I want to know is when we can expect to hear about the conviction of the spammers he sold to. Obviously due to the size of the database (every AOL member ever apparently) they knew it was stolen. So we should see several spammers charged with 92,000,000 counts of recieving stolen merchandise right???

OK - no chance of the government being that smart... but it would be nice.

Only 15 months? (1)

zenneth (767572) | about 9 years ago | (#13353240)

This is absurd. What a paltry amount of time to serve for such a hardened thug! There are people who get more time than that for murdering or robbing someone, and that's just sad. When are we going to crack down and show these online hoodlums that crime doesn't pay?
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