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Jail for Selling Email Lists to Spammers

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 7 years ago | from the losing-the-key dept.

Spam 172

amigoro writes "UK will start jailing the people who trade in email addresses, or any other personal data. The current Data Protection Act only fines people who do that, but the money one can make from trading in personal information was far higher than the measly GBP 5000 one had to pay if caught. The new regulations will result in a two year prison sentence for violating the Act."

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FROSTY PISTOLIERS! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17923088)

It's about time that a government put some teeth behind privacy legislation. Now when will this become an international treaty?
 

Re:FROSTY PISTOLIERS! (3, Insightful)

homey of my owney (975234) | more than 7 years ago | (#17923626)

This is of no value. If it was, we wouldn't have Bank robberies (there are laws against it too). As long as there's money in it, and the technology supports it, it'll sadly continue.

Re:FROSTY PISTOLIERS! (2, Insightful)

dan828 (753380) | more than 7 years ago | (#17923690)

You seem to be saying that no laws have value if the behavior that they are intended to prevent still occurs. In addition to bank robbery, that would include murder, rape, theft of any sort, speeding, and cheating on your taxes. Since all of these things still happen, the laws against them must have no value, yes?

Re:FROSTY PISTOLIERS! (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17923818)

There's one problem: in UK nobody goes to prison because there're no prison spaces left.
That will be a dead law. Not the first, and definitively not the last.

You know, 50 times and you're out... Welcome to UK!

Re:FROSTY PISTOLIERS! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17923958)

Just ship them off to Australia like you used to do. Problem solved.

Re:FROSTY PISTOLIERS! (2, Interesting)

homey of my owney (975234) | more than 7 years ago | (#17924038)

That's one interpretation. My point is that a law, the community and every other influence does not stop someone who is intent on breaking a law for personal profit - as I believe spammers are. That holds for bank robbers and murders where there is financial gain. In a round way, I'm saying the technology must change... Though I recognize it will only begin the next phase for spam.

US (4, Insightful)

rodgster (671476) | more than 7 years ago | (#17923096)

We need an equivalent law here in the US.

Ahh, but until then ... (3, Funny)

ubrgeek (679399) | more than 7 years ago | (#17923152)

Do I hear $5 for rodgster@yahoo.c o m?

Re:Ahh, but until then ... (1)

Short Circuit (52384) | more than 7 years ago | (#17924680)

How about $10 for mikemol@gmail.com?

Re:Ahh, but until then ... (1)

Short Circuit (52384) | more than 7 years ago | (#17924702)

by Short Circuit (52384) * <mikemol.gmail@com>

How about $10 for mikemol@gmail.com?
Oh...wait...that's in my comment header.

Jail This Person First: +1, Helpful (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17923288)


He is known as the world's most dangerous person [whitehouse.org] .

Thanks for your help in this criminal justice matter.

Patriotically,
Kilgore Trout.

Re:US (2, Interesting)

x_MeRLiN_x (935994) | more than 7 years ago | (#17923342)

"Will result in" or "can result in"? A maximum sentence isn't always passed - and is in fact probably the exception rather than the norm.

Re:US (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17923826)

At least most people wouldn't consider taking the risk.

Equivalent, my ass! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17923952)

The law should be treating spammers to a long tour of Iraq digging front-line latrines with a target sign.

Re:US (2, Insightful)

BobSutan (467781) | more than 7 years ago | (#17924068)

It will never happen so long as the FBI and other government agencies are the buyers of such information. See, since these organizations can't legally snoop in a lot of cases they just buy the info they need from companies that are allowed to do such snooping. Only in America!

Re:US (1)

kirun (658684) | more than 7 years ago | (#17924598)

Crime prevention is a specific exemption of the Data Protection Act.

Re:US (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17924256)

How could you put a corporation in jail though? Don't forget things like getting "approved" spam from those related to YAHOO, Hotmail, AOL, etc and getting fresh spam after you gave your email to some corporate website. I remember not being able to mark some spam at YAHOO as spam, not able to mark any of it now as spam but then I have troublemaking javascript turned off. Get very little spam there now.

Woohooo!! (1)

Cygnostik (545583) | more than 7 years ago | (#17923114)

Party! Round of beers on me! $100 rewards to anyone providing information leading to an arrest! I think I'll go get drunk!

New commercial (4, Funny)

Pakaran2 (138209) | more than 7 years ago | (#17923136)

Fine: GBP 5000
Legal bills: GBP 2000
Your cellmate Bubba finding out that you're the one behind him getting all those Nigerian emails: Priceless

Re:New commercial (1)

edwardpickman (965122) | more than 7 years ago | (#17923324)

Finding out it was Bubba's sainted mother who you ripped off with the scam, who now spends her retirement years in a cardboard box eating dog food....

Justice!

Re:New commercial (4, Funny)

CaptainZapp (182233) | more than 7 years ago | (#17923452)

And don't forget that Bubba layed his grubby hands on just about any pen1s enlarrrgement offer he received by email.

US Should Do This Too (1)

bostons1337 (1025584) | more than 7 years ago | (#17923138)

Good, I'm sure I'm not the only one that shares mutual hate for spammers and marketing staff that want to sell you worthless crap!

E360INSIGHT, are you listening? (1)

merc (115854) | more than 7 years ago | (#17923160)

Why don't you go to the UK and file your bogus lawsuit against Spamhaus now?

Re:E360INSIGHT, are you listening? (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 7 years ago | (#17923746)

Why don't you go to the UK and file your bogus lawsuit against Spamhaus now?
This raises an interesting point .... how loudly would the American government be screaming if a US citizen was arrested in Britain for doing something which was perfectly legal in the US but which affected UK citizens and was against their laws???

I bet people would scream bloody murder about jurisdiction and how wrong it is to detain American citizens.

I would like to see a test case like that.

Cheers

Re:E360INSIGHT, are you listening? (1)

Original Replica (908688) | more than 7 years ago | (#17924112)

Perhaps the sentence would be reduced. Remember what happened to that kid that was caught "tagging" cars in Singapore? He was sentenced to be caned, public outcry got President Clinton involved, the brat still got what was coming to him. His sentence was reduced from six cane strokes to four, probably as a PR favor to Clinton more than anything else. http://www.corpun.com/awfay9405.htm [corpun.com]

Re:E360INSIGHT, are you listening? (2, Funny)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 7 years ago | (#17924392)

This raises an interesting point .... how loudly would the American government be screaming if a US citizen was arrested in Britain for doing something which was perfectly legal in the US but which affected UK citizens and was against their laws???

I don't know ... if they were sending out spam, I'd prefer that they be quickly extradited to whatever third-world country still practices breaking-at-the-wheel.

Jail Time (5, Insightful)

Normal Dan (1053064) | more than 7 years ago | (#17923204)

It seems everyone these days are too eager to throw people in jail. Two years in jail for a non-violent crime? Two years of your life is a very long time. It's longer than you may think, and spending it in jail doesn't help society very much. Yes, I know it's suppose to be a deterrent, but I think a better deterrent would be a much larger fine, probation, and maybe your email address along with your crime made publicly known. Regardless, I still think we are too quick to just throw people in jail and forget about them.

Re:Jail Time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17923236)

Beyond the initial "ha-ha" moment, I agree with you totally.

Re:Jail Time (1)

Krow10 (228527) | more than 7 years ago | (#17923732)

Beyond the initial "ha-ha" moment, I agree with you totally.
Intellectually, I agree. Of course I've long felt that the war on drugs does far more harm than good. But as for the specific case of spammers -- fuck 'em. I have negative sympathy for them. They cost me time every day, and that comes right out of my long ago depleted "feel sorry for spammers getting nailed by draconian laws" supply. I'll work on helping in the general case. I have far more important things to do than worry about some spammer. Like posting to /. and counting the CPU cycles wasted by crap carefully crafted to avoid my spam filter.

Re:Jail Time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17924200)

> Intellectually, I agree. Of course I've long felt that the war on drugs does far more harm than good. But as for the specific case of spammers -- fuck 'em. I have negative sympathy for them. They cost me time every day, and that comes right out of my long ago depleted "feel sorry for spammers getting nailed by draconian laws" supply.

I don't even have an "intellectual" disagreement with the notion that jail time for spamming (or listbrokering) is excessive: the crucial difference between a spammer and a drug dealer is that at least somebody, somewhere, actually wanted the drug dealer's crap.

Re:Jail Time (1)

Anon-Admin (443764) | more than 7 years ago | (#17923314)

It seems to be the only solution people can come up with.

I like the idea of the fine being inline with the crime. Instead of a fixed fine where the amount becomes a cost of doing business, why do they not move to a sliding scale. For example, each person who's e-mail they sold would receive the amount paid for the list. So if the list is 100 e-mails and the person caught was selling the list for 1$ then the fine would be equal to 1$ x 100 and that $ would be sent to the people who's names are on the list.

Works for me. :0

Re:Jail Time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17923364)

I personally think a bullet in the head is better. MUCH less expensive than jail.

Re:Jail Time (1)

Normal Dan (1053064) | more than 7 years ago | (#17923464)

This is something similar to what I thought up. One problem is there's sometimes no way to tell exactly what has been sold to who. But if we could, I wouldn't mind receiving a large chunk of money every time my address is sold. Don't forget, they should also have to pay the salaries of the people who have to investigate the crime, etc. This would be a fixed rate on top of the dynamic rate. It should also be estimated how many emails they may have sold in the past, and they should be changed for them. The money can go to the people.

Re:Jail Time (1)

M. Baranczak (726671) | more than 7 years ago | (#17923564)

Removing the financial incentive is the only effective way to stop spam. Unfortunately, nobody knows how to do that.

I like the idea of making restitution to the victims, but I don't think your plan would work. You can't send money by email, so you'd have to somehow find out the names and addresses of the owners. And how do you do that? By sending out mass emails telling people that they can get a check for $1.00 if they provide their name and address? How many responses do you think you'd get? And keep in mind, in a real life situation it'd probably be 100,000 addresses, not 100, and the amount for each address would be much less than $1.00. (How much less? I don't know, but I bet somebody here has a rough idea how much spammers are paying for addresses nowadays.)

Re:Jail Time (2, Insightful)

green1 (322787) | more than 7 years ago | (#17924430)

>> Removing the financial incentive is the only effective way to stop spam

actually, it's worse than that, you have to not only remove the financial incentive, you also have to remove the PERCEIVED financial incentive. the former is actually not that hard, and in some cases is already accomplished. the big problem is that even if people aren't able to make a penny off of spam you will still have people who THINK they can make money off it, and that will continue to cause people to try.

what is needed most is for people to expect to get caught. people do their own risk/benefit analysis and if they think they are likely to get some benefit, and don't think there is any risk they will continue. the way to solve this is to make people think that the risk isn't worth it. which means better investigation, better prosecution, and better computer security making it harder for people to hide the origin of the spam.

Re:Jail Time (2, Insightful)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 7 years ago | (#17923366)

Regardless, I still think we are too quick to just throw people in jail and forget about them.

The creeps making tons of money from the prison industry believe we should feed them even faster. This isn't about punishment, much less rehabilitation. Profit motive is driving it. And the taste of revenge is sweet indeed.

Re:Jail Time (2, Insightful)

jfengel (409917) | more than 7 years ago | (#17923434)

Fines are problematic as a punishment, because not everybody can pay them. Some of the money has already been spent by the time you get to them, and some has been hidden. You can take everything they have, which is usually less than they made off the crime. There are usually ways to legally hide money even from fines; they're reluctant to take your house, for example (though I gather that the US government has ways around that.)

Jail time is something that people can't miss.

I agree that two years should be a terrifying thing to take from somebody; it's scary that so many people are willing to risk jail time nonetheless.

Punishment is always a problem. Nothing really works universally. Deterrence obviously fails to deter. Rehabilitation also fails more often than it helps. Vengeance comes with its own problems.

Jail terms are always quantifications based on all three factors and more, which will always lead to absurdities of proportion, where some minor crimes get larger sentences than major ones. The laws are always compromises, and the numbers end up as the result of splitting differences and argumentation rather than an understanding of what works.

Re:Jail Time (-1, Troll)

redheaded_stepchild (629363) | more than 7 years ago | (#17923454)

I couldn't agree more. We need to seperate the bad from the good, permanently.

That's why I am all for the death penalty. Kill the fuckers, then see how much of a nuisance they are.

I think we already spend to much time & money thinking about crime. People who take advantage of our society as a whole should be removed from society, in the most permanent fashion possible. Yes, I am aware of the consequences of this kind of thinking. At the same time, I can see daily the consequences of the opposite viewpoint - millions blown on overcrowded prisons, which achieve nothing but making better criminals, who are shortly released and commit an even more offensive crime. Or worse, 'white-collar' prisoners serving a slap-on-the-wrist style sentence that for all intents and purposes has no overall effect on their lives besides being indisposed for a few months. As soon as they're out, they go right back to the mansion & money that their crime probably paid for.

As for your idea of 'public humiliation' - I think if they were afraid of this, they would not have started spamming.

Until we have a foolproof way of brainwashing the sociopathic bastards into some semblance of common decency, we will be unable to stop their behavior.

So, kill 'em. Or I just thought of a possible alternative - castrate them so they can't breed.

Bye-bye, karma!

Re:Jail Time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17924166)

There are other ways of alleviating the problems with prisons than by resorting to executing large numbers of people.

Prisoners shall receive one half of a 6-by-8 cell, one cot, water, a gruel that satisfies their basic dietary requirements, meetings with their lawyers, and the ability to participate in a work or study program for free. They will have to work for EVERYTHING else, from better food to a larger cell to exercise time outside to visits from their friends and family. If they work at some craft (the proceeds of which the prison sells to pay for operations or which is paid in restitution to the victims of the prisoner's crimes) or if they do well in a class (GED program, vocational training, bachelor's program, etc.) while in prison, they gain some credit toward the other privileges.

Let's turn our jails and prisons back into genuinely unpleasant places, places you don't want to go. Now I've never been to prison, but based on news reports and documentaries I've seen, going to prison almost seem like going on vacation with the amount of privileges you receive.

Re:Jail Time (1)

MMInterface (1039102) | more than 7 years ago | (#17924420)

Your post makes no sense. Your complaining because they dont have a common sense of decency but your post shows no sense of decency and no value for human life. Have you ever killed anyone? Have you ever witnessed murder? Have you served time in prison? If not you probably can't even grasp the idea of how barbaric your nonsense of a post sounds. A society with your type of thinking doesn't deserve to be free of this nuisance. What good is your sense of justice if you have no value for human life and no sense of decency. This would quickly descend into anarchy.

Re:Jail Time (1)

qwijibo (101731) | more than 7 years ago | (#17923496)

When it comes to spammers, I can think of many other places where I'd prefer they get thrown and forgotten. Active volcanoes spring to mind.

Fines don't work if the benefit of breaking the law exceeds the possible fine. Probation is the threat of being thrown in jail for getting caught again, which is slightly more legally binding than "don't do it again or I'll tell you not to do it again in a more stern voice". I get the impression that the kind of people that sell email adresses would consider the publishing of their crime and email address to be free advertising.

If there's not going to be any punishment, it shouldn't be a crime. If it's a crime, there should be a penalty for getting caught. Relatively few people are going to be caught, so the ones that are need to serve as an example to others.

As a sysadmin who has had to deal with spammers, summary execution is the only punishment I consider reasonable. Everything else is a compromise.

Re:Jail Time (1)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | more than 7 years ago | (#17923532)

Two years in jail for a non-violent crime?

Am I the only one sick and tired of this method of trivializing crimes? "Oh, it's non-violent, I guess it's not so bad." You really think all violent crimes are worse than all non-violent crimes? Then tell ya what: slapping me in the face is a violent crime. I would gladly be slapped in the face in return for just 10% of the costs a spammer imposes on the rest of us.

Re:Jail Time (1)

Normal Dan (1053064) | more than 7 years ago | (#17923800)

I suppose I'm trying to say jail should be reserved for people who are violent, as to take them off the streets and keep them from hurting others. It shouldn't be used as a deterrent. Then again, they are technically hurting others and thus tossing them in jail will keep them from harming others.

Hmmm... Perhaps they should be locked in a room and forced to sift through thousands of emails looking for the few legitimate ones. Once they have found the legitimate ones, they will contain a code to unlock the room. Once they unlock that room, they have to do it again for the next room, and so on for a while. Maybe it will help them understand what they are doing to other people.

Who knows?

I call it.. (1)

TheNinjaroach (878876) | more than 7 years ago | (#17924404)

We can call it Spam's Labyrinth!

Re:Jail Time (3, Interesting)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 7 years ago | (#17923612)

Two years in jail for a non-violent crime? Two years of your life is a very long time.

And how many years can it take to recover from having your credit history trashed, from losing your sensitive job because you appear to be financially wreckless or in debt, or from having to rebuild your reputation when someone sends around child pr0n links/content or stock-pumping scams that appear to be coming from you?

If you performed a "violent crime" that resulted in more or less the same consequences (wrecking someone's house or career), that's somehow worse, for you, than some other action that results in the same thing, long-term? How about when the person doing it is doing it to thousands of people at the same time?

spending it in jail doesn't help society very much

Other than the whole "he can't do any more of it while he's in prison" aspect, right?

maybe your email address along with your crime made publicly known

Oh no! Not public disclosure of your e-mail address! That's really some pretty serious stuff you're talking, there. No one who steals information, spreads around fraudulant messages, and is willing to take YOUR money or credibility for their own use would ever... just change e-mail addresses. These people are beyond shame. Naming them publicly does nothing, but jail time completely prevents them from any of these activities while they're locked up.

Regardless, I still think we are too quick to just throw people in jail and forget about them.

Forget about them? We have to feed them, provide medical and legal care, and 24 months later (in the example cited), administer their release. I can't imagine that you're thinking someone doing a 24-month stint is somehow going to wind up there for years longer because someone forgot that their sentence was up. Please.

It sounds more like what you're really lobbying for is harsher sentences for violent criminals. Because you can't truly be thinking that life-wrecking scam artists that cost the world's economy untold billions in (choose your currency) and irretrievably lost time are the same as someone didn't renew their dog license, or was caught distilling their own grappa in the basement.

Re:Jail Time (1)

Qzukk (229616) | more than 7 years ago | (#17924034)

Other than the whole "he can't do any more of it while he's in prison" aspect, right?

Except for the fact that if he's set up some kind of corporation or even just left an automated email harvester and credit card charge system running in some closet somewhere, he most certainly can.

Re:Jail Time (1)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 7 years ago | (#17924204)

Except for the fact that if he's set up some kind of corporation or even just left an automated email harvester and credit card charge system running in some closet somewhere, he most certainly can.

If the corporation he's running is the vehicle through which he's committing his crimes, that wouldn't still be operating anyway. If you mean that he might have accomplices that weren't caught, that's another matter - though it's usually pretty easy to follow the trail.

As for card harvesting, etc... he can't use money that he can't get to. Someone who's convicted of wire fraud, or bank fraud, or tax evasion, or any of the usual things that accompany these sorts of prosecutions, will have had every related bank account and transactional mechanism shut down or siezed. His ability to be oily and keep something operating outside of such scrutiny (absent unprosecuted partners) is hugely reduced by being in jail and unplugged.

Re:Jail Time (1)

SlashdotCrackPot (1019530) | more than 7 years ago | (#17923652)

Like anybody (unless mandated by the JUDGE or MINIMUM sentance) actually serves a full sentence for crimes of this nature. However, UK might differ a little from this as I'm not as familiar with their court systems.

Re:Jail Time (1)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 7 years ago | (#17924514)

In the English/Welsh, Scottish and Northern Irish court systems (there is no UK court system), you typically serve half the sentence, but it can be increased up to the full sentence if you behave badly in prison.

The main difference is where you have a life sentence with a recommended minimum term. There, once you have served the recommended minimum term, the parole board (in England) or the equivalent elsewhere, carries out an assessment to see if you are still a risk to the public, and only release you if you are not.

Re:Jail Time (1)

Cygnostik (545583) | more than 7 years ago | (#17923680)

Granted you have a point there but the larger the fine the less likely it'll even get paid or end up reduced anyway. Making ones email address public is like making ones PO Box # public, why bother with something like that which could be so easily turned off and replaced? Aside from the fact that spammers probably don't care much about email anyway. You may as well publish the offender's myspace address and even then publish it where and who cares?

Wouldn't it be more effective to consider more sensible alternatives? Increase the punishment for bigger crimes? What about an alternative to jail like some kind of correctional home? An industry sponsored half way house for dirty digital crimes who need to have their views adjusted? :-P Put them in a clockwork orange chair and force them to watch the hell people go through dealing with privacy issues and the spam they help propagate? Server admins brutally committing suicide over all the spam problems, families being torn apart by porn scandals caused by UCE?

Until the break down and can no longer tolerate the horrible acts they've committed?

What about restrictions on the types of business they're allowed to engage in? Take them, for several years, out of the industry they've proven unable to work in responsibly?

Re:Jail Time (2, Insightful)

MillionthMonkey (240664) | more than 7 years ago | (#17924016)

Two years of your life is a very long time. It's longer than you may think, and spending it in jail doesn't help society very much.
On the contrary. Two years is actually a very light sentence for something that impacts society as severly as this, and society benefits greatly during that two year period, because imprisoning a spammer brings huge benefits to society. It's a cheap and effective way to improve the lives of millions of people.

There really aren't that many spammers in the world. It may not seem like it, but that's because the world has a lot of spam- it's a crime that has a huge number of victims by definition. If you consider all the lives that are improved by jailing a spammer, it compares favorably even to jailing violent criminals. There are comparatively few lives that are improved by jailing (say) an average rapist, and even if each potential rape victim's life is improved a lot by the rapist being in jail instead of being free to rape, there's just a few rape victims per rapist (usually less than a hundred). Jailing a spammer can improve the lives of millions of people by a little, and receiving X spam emails is about as bad as being raped (for some value of X). And raping people isn't like spamming- it takes time, effort, and legwork, and the number of people you can rape is limited just by virtue of the fact that it's a difficult crime to computerize. If nothing else, at least one thing you can say about rapists is that they are not as lazy as spammers, and that should really be considered when coming up with sentences for them. Spamming may be as "nonviolent" as selling drugs, accepting bribes, or rigging elections, but spammers still belong in jail. If nothing else, it will prevent them from spamming, in a way that fining them will not. A spammer can cover any fine you impose by further spamming.

Probably "up to two year" (1)

Per Abrahamsen (1397) | more than 7 years ago | (#17924074)

which does seem mild compared to the potential property damages that can be caused by this, depending on the number of addresses being sold.

What is the maximum penalty for breaking into a computer, stealing information, and in the process leave the computer unusable? ...

And I strongly disagree with the sentiment often heard here on /. that jail time should be reserved to violent (blue collar) crimes, and economic (white collar) crimes should only get fines. The economic crimes are often much more damaging, because the number of victims is so much higher, and the perpetrators are often quite used to (and willing to) taking economic risks. Serving jail time seem much more real.

The notion also smack towards sending poor people in jail, and letting rich people go free, which is not exactly strengthening the fabric of society.

Re:Jail Time (1)

Kopretinka (97408) | more than 7 years ago | (#17924194)

For most people who've never been in jail, jailtime will be a big deterrent. As opposed to a fine that's less than the profits, and even public humiliation - in today's society, we don't only forget the heroes, we also forget the villains fast, giving everybody their 15 mins of fame, maybe, and that's it.

There will be no jail time (1)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 7 years ago | (#17924232)

The British jails are full. They're letting rapists, paedophiles and murderers out because they've nowhere to put them. You think a spammer is going to get any time?

 

Re:Jail Time (1)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 7 years ago | (#17924410)

Two years is the maximum, which will be for the most serious cases - mainly repeat offenders. I expect a typical sentence will be about 2 or 3 months, which I think is a reasonable deterrent. Clearly fines are just treated as a business expense, and so people break the law with impunity.

If you read any british newspapers at the moment, you will see our prisons are overflowing, so people are not getting anything like maximum sentences at the moment.

Yep (1, Interesting)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 7 years ago | (#17923208)

We can't fill 'em fast enough. No room for these [news24.com] guys though.

A good start (1)

onkelonkel (560274) | more than 7 years ago | (#17923234)

I'm a firm believer in some sort of nightmare medieval punishment for spammers, preferably involving red hot iron applied to tender parts in proportion to the number of spam emails sent. This is not there yet but is a good start.

Re:A good start (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17923290)

I think spamming should get the death sentence.

How about this? (1)

StressGuy (472374) | more than 7 years ago | (#17924076)

Instead of jail time or community service, sentance them to 1 hour per 100 e-mails in a federal automated PMITA machine?

Ya know, it would have stocks and some sort of reciprocating er...machinery

or....maybe not

The price of spam lists (3, Insightful)

future assassin (639396) | more than 7 years ago | (#17923260)

just went up. Which ofcourse will create more email harvesting.

Re:The price of spam lists (1)

LighterShadeOfBlack (1011407) | more than 7 years ago | (#17924250)

No, if it created more harvesting then the price would go down again, until it reached a new equilibrium which would probably be slightly more expensive than currently and involving slightly less harvesters. Now if more and more countries start taking this kind of thing seriously then the amount of places where it can go unpunished and the number of people willing to risk punishment will go down, leading to less email harvesting and higher prices for e-mail addresses - until eventually it's no longer financially viable to send spam. Then the hand-holding and kum-ba-yah'ing can begin.

THE FALCONER! (1)

madsheep (984404) | more than 7 years ago | (#17923268)

Lord Falconer, Secretary of State for Constitutional Affairs and Lord Chancellor, said. "People have a right to have their privacy protected from those who would deliberately misuse it and I believe the introduction of custodial penalties will be an effective deterrent to those who seek to procure or wilfully abuse personal data."
Ok, so I'll avoid making a joke about "the falconer" here, but I do have a question. Do you feel like your privacy has been violated if someone that already had your e-mail address sells/trades/gives it to someone else? Also, what count as deliberately misusing it? Last I checked it seems like e-mail addresses were made to be spammed. Go after people spamming and not someone giving out an e-mail address.

Re:THE FALCONER! (3, Informative)

Intron (870560) | more than 7 years ago | (#17923388)

Do you feel like your privacy has been violated if someone that already had your e-mail address sells/trades/gives it to someone else?
-- yes

what count as deliberately misusing it?
-- any use other than the purpose for which I gave it to you

Go after people spamming and not someone giving out an e-mail address.
-- the people giving out the email address are just as guilty as the people sending spam

Re:THE FALCONER! (2, Funny)

CaptainZapp (182233) | more than 7 years ago | (#17923546)

Do you feel like your privacy has been violated if someone that already had your e-mail address sells/trades/gives it to someone else?

It's actually worse then that. I feel that my sanitary and healthy living conditions are polluted by some low life scumbag who's getting rich quick by shitting into the communal water supply.

This is metaphorically speaking, of course.

Re:THE FALCONER! (1)

qwijibo (101731) | more than 7 years ago | (#17923594)

Last I checked, email was a form of communication. When I first got my email address, there was no such thing as spam. In the old days, we used to communicate with other people. Sure, some of them were stupid and annoying, but it was easy to filter them out.

Is there a legitimate use for providing the email addresses to others in bulk? When people ask me for an email address, it's usually for a mutual acquaintance. I've never had any reason to provide every email address of everyone I've ever seen, plus several million that I made up that are plausable based on common names and known valid domain names.

There's no difference between the people selling email lists and the spammers. They're both engaged in a for-profit business of making offers to people that are so bad that it only takes a small handful of morons out of every million people to have a profitable business model.

Re:THE FALCONER! (2, Interesting)

madsheep (984404) | more than 7 years ago | (#17923654)

Is SPAM not a form of communication? What about all the snail mail you get? Should people that sell your name and address go to jail? What about "CURRENT RESIDENT"? These people don't even know your name but mail you anyway! People advertise/SPAM in regular mail just to make a dollar. It's a form of communication.

Re:THE FALCONER! (1)

qwijibo (101731) | more than 7 years ago | (#17923950)

Spam is communication in the same way that hate speech is communication. It fits a strict legal definition, but that's the only way it qualifies communication. It's undesireable to all but a statistically irrelevant group and it's offensive to a large portion of its audience.

I'm all for prosecuting people who sell personal information. I do system architecture design for a marketing organization in a large bank. I've seen the kind of companies and people who are in the business of selling information "legitimately". They will do pretty much anything to get information, including buying it on the black market. They will even tell you that they do this if they think it will help them make a sale. This is normal for companies who sell name and address databases legally. People who sell email addresses are much seedier types. Good luck getting a real name from one of them.

The difference between spam and other forms of advertisement is who pays for the spam. I have to pay for enough bandwidth to handle the 10k+ pieces of spam sent to me every day if I want to be able to get the valid emails that are mixed in with those. The spammer doesn't pay for the spam. They pay for the botnets that are used to send their spam, but that's a stolen resource, so the price is pretty low and negotiable. What would you think if you had to pay postage and printing costs for every piece of junk mail you received? Spam is popular because it puts the cost of advertising on the victim and other unknowing third parties.

Re:THE FALCONER! (1)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 7 years ago | (#17924584)

If you read TFA, you will see that the increased punishment is for unauthorised trade in all personal data, not just email addresses.

Re:THE FALCONER! (1)

26199 (577806) | more than 7 years ago | (#17923994)

Any database of personally identifiable information falls under the data protection act, and that comes with a whole host of requirements. The data has to be collected with the consent of the subjects, for one specified purpose; it can't be held longer than is needed for that purpose; subjects can request to see the data held on them, and to have mistakes corrected; and the data can't be given to anyone else (unless this is necessary for the originally specified purpose, and the recipient follows the same rules).

So the giving of addresses is partially irrelevant. Just having a database of addresses without the consent of the people who own the addresses may be illegal.

What about people who inadvertantly give away (3, Insightful)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 7 years ago | (#17923322)

email addresses? Such as those who are infected with a harvester. I know that is how my gmail address got out. I didn't receive any spam until I received a mass email inviting all the 200 people who were accepted to the University of Minnesota graduate program in CS to an orientation. At least one of the people who got that must have been infected with spyware that harvests addresses(I know they should know better since they are going to be CS grad students and yet....) and spam started regularly coming into my inbox. It isn't as bad as the 100 or so spams I day I received at my old university address(which I was careless with, but that was before spam became as huge a problem as it is today).

Should the offender be tracked and punished? After all, (s)he gave away my personal info without my consent. Not intentionally and didn't make any money, but its an interesting question nonetheless.

Re:What about people who inadvertantly give away (1)

DaMattster (977781) | more than 7 years ago | (#17923536)

That's an interesting question you pose. I really hope that the person you mentioned isn't punished. I think they really did not intend for this to happen. Let's go after the big guys; the ones that write and distribute the code to harvest addresses. By punishing the small, petty guys, you only make it harder for them to obtain employment and to be contributing members of society. Finding a good job and making one's own way is already hard enough, having a criminal record notwithstanding. Therefore, the problem is never solved by going after the small time and the already overburdened criminal justice just gets further taxed. My .02 cents, anyway.

Re:What about people who inadvertantly give away (1)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 7 years ago | (#17923618)

Oops, I didn't mean to come off as saying "they should be punished" but rather questioning whether or not the COULD be punished. I don't think they should be punished either, but it's still annoying not being able to absolutely control who has your email address.

Re:What about people who inadvertantly give away (2, Interesting)

redheaded_stepchild (629363) | more than 7 years ago | (#17923722)

Ok, I'll agree that prison is too harsh a crime for letting your PC become infected with malware. But how about a fine for letting it continue? Some states have a system in place to fine people for vehicles that pollute the air, why can't we fine people for letting their PC's pollute the internet?

This, like a parking ticket, isn't a felony crime that might stop you from getting a job.

What it could do is make people think about getting some education about their PCs, or at least get someone who can maintain them properly like a decent mechanic would their car.

A major portion of the spam problem is people who allow this kind of thing to happen. You're right in the sense that we shouldn't be going after the small, petty guys alone. I still think the spammers themselves are a bigger target. But if we can take away a major source of their information, we can make their spamming job a lot harder.

As a side benefit, people would be exposed to all sorts of things, like Firefox, Linux, and other alternatives to a system that is inherently insecure.

"MacroShaft - Where do you want to get screwed today?"

Re:What about people who inadvertantly give away (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17923856)

I think you're confused as to who did what. Spyware is known to be nearly impossible to remove from your computer and the task it's performing isn't always obvious, nor is it always evident that it's running in the first place.

The person with spyware on their computer is merely another victim of the crime. The person who developed the spyware and tricked people into downloading it without any knowledge of what it does or how to remove it is the person who has committed the crime. This person is then on the receiving end of the email addresses, so that they can harvest/sell the information to spammers.

If Person A is forced to hang upside down from two 10 story buildings by his ankles, and is forced to hang on to person B who is dangling below person A, if Person B was to slip and fall, I would have to say that it's not a point of topic to question whether Person A is guilty of murder.

The person who did the forcing would be guilty.

Re:What about people who inadvertantly give away (1)

redheaded_stepchild (629363) | more than 7 years ago | (#17924186)

I think that's a bullshit argument, and here's why:

The person with spyware on their computer has the ability to stop that kind of crime from happening. That's the definition of negligence - "the failure to exercise that degree of care that, in the circumstances, the law requires for the protection of other persons or those interests of other persons that may be injuriously affected by the want of such care." (from dictionary.com) Granted, no such law actually exists (yet) - but it should.

If you think a PC is unsecurable, then I must be an extremely fortunate person- no viruses or spyware on this box for 5 years running. Top that off with I spend less money on securing this system than most people who get infected do. Oh, yeah, I'm running Windows.

Re:What about people who inadvertantly give away (1)

Xugumad (39311) | more than 7 years ago | (#17924490)

In the example given, at the college would be in the wrong for having sent out an e-mail with 199 other people's addresses visible (and when I say in the wrong, I mean I'm fairly certain they'd be breaking the Data Protection Act).

The person with the harvester could be breaking the law by not taking sufficient precautions with the information, but that gets messier...

Re:What about people who inadvertantly give away (1)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 7 years ago | (#17924630)

The university should certainly be punished for not putting the addresses in the bcc list. It would be much more difficult to track down which of the fellow recipients was responsible for passing the address on.

If only it was inforceable. (1)

oliverthered (187439) | more than 7 years ago | (#17923428)

I get tonnes of junk mail through my door even though I always check/uncheck the don't pass my details on to someone else box.

Next time I move house I'm going to register all my bills in different names so that I know exactly who's passing my details on.

Re:If only it was inforceable. (1)

quixote9 (999874) | more than 7 years ago | (#17923904)

I tried that, but I changed the middle initial, E. for the electricity company, X. for American Express, and so on. It was fascinating. Buy a pair of binoculars, find yourself getting life insurance offers. Leave your name with a chocolatier at a food show, and get catalogs from a company making high-end mountain bikes. There was no rhyme or reason to it, and with the vast majority I never would have guessed who'd sold the name without that tell-tale little breadcrumb. (And that junk came, of course, after explicitly requestiong NO junk.)

Personally, I think 20 years would be closer to fitting the crime (There ought to be some relation between how much time they rob from everyone else and the time they have to do), and they should be sentenced to having only one email address, and one phone number, both of which would be publicized forever.

(Me? Hate spammers? Nonsense. I'm mild as milk.)

mod 0P (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17923570)

offic3Rs. Others

This is nice but... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17923650)

...when are we going to start jailing and executing homosexuals in this country? Homosexuals (gays, lesbians, faggots, queers, etc.) are garbage that needs to be dealt with.

Strongbad is in trouble (1)

Lord_Slepnir (585350) | more than 7 years ago | (#17923666)

{Cut to Strong Bad and Bubs standing at the stick, facing away from each other. Strong Bad has a CD labeled "The Goods", Bubs has a bag of cash labeled "The Payoff".}

STRONG BAD: {voiceover} Or if I'm strapped for cash, I'll sell the email addresses to Bubs for use in his free weekly spamvertisements.

{Strong Bad drops the CD}

STRONG BAD: Oops! Lookit that! I dropped a CD of five-thousand email addresses!

{Bubs throws the bag of money on the ground}

BUBS: Whoops! I dropped a quarter for each one!

http://www.hrwiki.org/index.php/unused_emails

Sorry All Our Jails Are Full... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17923674)

You'll get 160 hours community service.

Ha! (1)

spandox (975750) | more than 7 years ago | (#17923686)

GB is coming under flack for overcrowded jails - to the point that they are letting Paedophile walk - they are not going to lock up spammers. FROM BBC NEWS: Paedophile escapes prison A man who downloaded dozens of child porn pictures won't be sent to prison - partly because of overcrowding in England and Wales. Derek Williams was given a suspended sentence. Judges have been told to only put the most dangerous criminals behind bars for the time being. A Downing Street spokesman said advice was sent to judges on sentencing but only as a reminder of the guidelines.

What happened to punishment fitting the crime? (3, Insightful)

DaedalusLogic (449896) | more than 7 years ago | (#17923698)

I hate spam, but traditional jail is excessive for anyone that sells e-mail or private information. I view jail as a place we should send people if the crime can actually cause physical harm to someone's life or limb. Then it makes sense for them to be physically seperated from society. If they commit a crime that's going to cost someone financially, drop a big punitive fine on their ass. Someone who sold private information so they could live the high life with a luxury car and a high rise penthouse should at worst face an entire life of paying back debts. They can live in a fleabag apartment and drive a pinto.

However, I wouldn't be opposed to say a sentence that put them in jail every weekend for two years. They can still try to earn an honest buck, and get a solid reminder of what they did wrong.

Punishment fitting the crime not possible here (4, Informative)

Per Abrahamsen (1397) | more than 7 years ago | (#17924302)

UK is a member of the EU, and as such is not allowed to restore the death penalty. Thus, death by torture as subject implies, is not an option, and jail time will have to do.

I really hate the pervasive meme that a crime is less of an issue if the damage is spread out over many victims, rather than concentrated on a few individuals. The economic damage done by a single large scale spam attack is large enough to fund several life saving operations. Just because you can't name the person who died doesn't make the crime any less severe.

And yes, the two years jail time is the upper limit, reserved to the worst cases. Most offenders will get far less than that, and first time offenders will most likely not even face jail time.

Re:What happened to punishment fitting the crime? (1)

Xugumad (39311) | more than 7 years ago | (#17924540)

I don't think it's excessive, I think it's inappropriate. This isn't a violent offender, they don't need to be locked away for my safety, why should the taxpayer have to pay for them to rot in a cell somewhere? Give them a _lot_ of community service instead. Say, about two years worth....

i hate niggers (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17923766)

'nuff said.

fuck you m0Dz, IM BACK!

Slow Down Cowboy! fuck this posting b00lshit fuck the moderaters and fuck rob malda im going to TRoLL bitcheSZZZ!!!

i'd like to see more/all faggots die of AIDS

trollin' fer jesus!

TRoLL.

How about: (1)

Mopar93 (1046032) | more than 7 years ago | (#17923836)

...adding telemarketing lists to this?

No wait, that wouldn't work. The phonebook makers would then be put in jail.

-Maurice

Private data = Private parts (1)

amigoro (761348) | more than 7 years ago | (#17923894)

Your private data is like your private parts. No one has the right to expose them without your permission.

I just hope it's not (1)

jeremyclark13 (999183) | more than 7 years ago | (#17923924)

Blue collar prison with conjugal visits. People like this need to go to federal prison, where they might be complimented on the beauty of their mouth.

Re:I just hope it's not (1)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 7 years ago | (#17924670)

In Britain, there aren't separate state and federal prisons. Just state prisons, and everyone goes there regardless of whether it is a local or national law or EU directive that has been broken.

This law will never stick (1)

gorbachev (512743) | more than 7 years ago | (#17923940)

Too many problems.

Does this apply to recruiters and other people whose job it is to keep track of people? They pass people's contact information around all the time.

How about social networking site operators, whose site leaks contact information to third parties?

How about corporate officers of information broker firms like Acxiom? These companies never have permission directly from the people whose information they have.

The information broker firms are also the reason why this sort of law would never even pass in the US.

Re:This law will never stick (1)

Xugumad (39311) | more than 7 years ago | (#17924622)

You know we've had laws like this for somewhere around 30 years now, right? I mean, not going to say you'll get this through in the US (but good luck, seriously!), but they're in place and they more or less do work, although there's a massive loophole in that once personal information is out of the UK, they can do what they like with it (but companies have to warn you if they're going to do that).

Where's... (1)

poticlin (1034042) | more than 7 years ago | (#17923960)

The champagne? We need to celebrate!

I support jailing more people (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17923988)

I also support our President, George W. Bush and I support the War in Iraq and the War on Terror. There are no "innocent civilians" in this war.

IF YOU DON'T SUPPORT BUSH THEN YOU SUPPORT BIN LADEN AND 9/11!

foxnews.com -- Learn the truth!

Spam isn't a big deal, terrorism is. GET SOME PRIORITIES!

Bcc as well? (1)

Shorthouse (665038) | more than 7 years ago | (#17924172)

.... and it should be community service for those who don't Bcc.

*which* jail is for selling lists to spammers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17924182)

And since when did we start listening to jails, anyway?

Are People The Only Ones? (1)

LifesABeach (234436) | more than 7 years ago | (#17924438)

Just a thought; But would this apply to Credit Card Company's, Lending Institutions, or Credit Rating Company's? More identities have been "published" from these types of businesses than any other, to date. I know my credit rating may be affected by this posting.

But the FREE MARKET! (1)

Goaway (82658) | more than 7 years ago | (#17924700)

This is nothing but GOVERNMENT INTERFERENCE in the FREE MARKET! If the governement would just stay away, everything would work out for the BEST for the CUSTOMER!
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