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Spammer Robert Soloway Arrested

samzenpus posted more than 7 years ago | from the that-should-fix-it dept.

Spam 383

Mike writes "Yahoo is reporting that US prosecutors captured Robert Soloway, a prolific Internet marketer responsible so much junk e-mail they called him "Spam King." Soloway was arrested in Seattle, Washington, a week after being indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of identity theft, money laundering, and mail, wire, and e-mail fraud. Soloway is accused of using botnets to disguise where e-mail originated and of forging return addresses of real people or businesses for his mass mailings. If convicted as charged, Soloway will face a maximum sentence of more than 65 years in prison and a fine of 250,000 dollars."

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give hima real punishment... (4, Funny)

gbjbaanb (229885) | more than 7 years ago | (#19335123)

..... make him delete all the spam emails he sent out, individually.

Re:give hima real punishment... (4, Funny)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 7 years ago | (#19335319)

While that might satisfy our need for revenge as individuals, as a society aren't we suppose to seek the rehabilitation of criminals such as Robert Soloway? If so, I doubt very much punishing him in such a manner would rehabilitate him. It would simply urge him not to get caught next time, although it is of course quite impossible for him to do it hence the silly moderation. Although I imagine many people are thinking "Yeah! We should do that! Really make him suffer!" I think we need more behaviour modification specialists (including psychiatrists) over the simple cry for vengence when we make laws against spamming. Otherwise we simply get laws that say a spammer should be put in jail for 65 years rather then laws which actually seek to rehabilitate the spammer.

Re:give hima real punishment... (5, Insightful)

giorgiofr (887762) | more than 7 years ago | (#19335423)

Rehabilitate him, you say. Is he ill? Is he handicapped? Is he being manipulated? No. He made his choices and got caught. Now it's *retribution time*. Yeah, revenge. Criminals commit crimes deliberately, I don't see why we should assume that they are somehow to be "saved", saved by what I ask? Their own decisions? I lead a somewhat free life just like they do, they have always had a choice, they chose to commit crimes, and now they get caught and suddenly it's "think of the criminals" time? No way. Rehabilitation works for people who *care* about social acceptance. This kind of people obviously do not care.
However I believe that spamming should not be a crime. In the grand scheme of things... robbing someone is much worse.

Re:give hima real punishment... (0, Flamebait)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 7 years ago | (#19335473)

This kind of people obviously do not care.
Who? Criminals or spammers? Because your post appears to make no distinction.

Re:give hima real punishment... (3, Insightful)

smilindog2000 (907665) | more than 7 years ago | (#19335511)

There are more issues here than rehabilitating the spammer. The world needs to know that the US is serious about stopping spam, and a serious sentence will be required as a deterrent. 65 years seems excessive, but this guy needs to do some real time, if not for himself, but to stop others who would follow in his path.

Re:give hima real punishment... (2)

giorgiofr (887762) | more than 7 years ago | (#19335575)

Criminals, as opposed to e.g. children or bullies

Re:give hima real punishment... (1, Flamebait)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 7 years ago | (#19335783)

Well I'm certainly glad the Australian criminal system disagrees with you.

Re:give hima real punishment... (5, Insightful)

hotdiggitydawg (881316) | more than 7 years ago | (#19335683)

However I believe that spamming should not be a crime. In the grand scheme of things... robbing someone is much worse.
You had my mod points coming your way, right up until that last sentence. His actions have no doubt cost countless people around the world significant amounts of time, money and resources (bandwidth bills, cost of wages paid to clean up infected machines, additional infrastructure to cope with increased mail volume, etc. etc.). The only real difference is that he is "robbing" many people instead of one... OK he's not committing physical assault, but he is effectively trespassing electronically.

Bad analogy time (hey, this is Slashdot, after all...) - he's not breaking into your house and stealing all the electrical goods to sell at the local pawn shop. Instead, he's breaking into every single house in the whole neighbourhood while the owners are away at work, and using all the bedrooms to run his own private brothel, and then leaving the owners to clean up the mess.

Maybe his actions sit somewhere between robbery and fraud, but either way they are still most definitely criminal IMHO. Simply spamming (in the literal meaning of the word - "sending unsolicited email") should be a misdemeanor depending entirely on the volume of spam sent, and whether any of the email headers are fraudulent. Bot-farming, however, should be a felony.

Re:give hima real punishment... (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 7 years ago | (#19335731)

There is the question, when you are dealing with hundreds of thousands of people, of what is the cheaper way for society to end up with less crime.

You obviously don't think so, but a lot of the people who end up in prison simply lack the decision making framework to decide whether what they are doing is right or wrong; their socialization is such that they think that their behavior is perfectly socially acceptable. Taking something from someone who is smaller than you? Can they do anything about it? Then it's fine. And so forth.

So notionally, attempting to establish that decision making framework and allowing re entrance to society could be a lot cheaper than feeding and housing someone for years and years. The trick is making it work, and convincing the yahoos that they probably don't want everybody else's morality smacked down on them(which would seem to be consistent with wanting your morality smacked down on everybody else).

Re:give hima real punishment... (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 7 years ago | (#19335559)

I think we need more behaviour modification specialists (including psychiatrists) over the simple cry for vengence when we make laws against spamming.

I know a guy who runs an SMS "advertising" company. There is absolutely nothing broken about this person except that he has a strong instinct about making money. Its a bit like the difference between Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs. One wants to be nice and hack technology. The other wants to get rich.

All you need to be a spammer is a belief that if a buck can be made out of something then it should be made.

Is 65 years excessive? (5, Insightful)

lib3rtarian (1050840) | more than 7 years ago | (#19335131)

I can't decide, what do people think, 65 years is basically a life sentence. Is that excessive?

Re:Is 65 years excessive? (2, Interesting)

Delirium Tremens (214596) | more than 7 years ago | (#19335183)

It is not excessive. The guy is a world-wide nuisance with direct and indirect impact on communication efficiency, economy and personal health (stress, anger, you name it).

Re:Is 65 years excessive? (1)

morpheus83 (708114) | more than 7 years ago | (#19335391)

Still 65 years ia bit too harsh.

Re:Is 65 years excessive? (3, Insightful)

SkunkPussy (85271) | more than 7 years ago | (#19335565)

Noone died, noone was physically threatened, noone felt fearful.

Yes millions have people have been inconvenienced, and yes phenomenal amounts of bandwidth have been wasted (the costs of this have been mostly incurred by victims of the spammer).This is a white collar crime.

The spammer is not a danger to society, just a pain in the arse so an appropriate punishment is a small prison sentence, coupled with a phenomenal fine - e.g. 10 million dollars.

Re:Is 65 years excessive? (5, Funny)

Gospodin (547743) | more than 7 years ago | (#19335655)

Whoever this Mr. Noone is, he really sounds like the victim here.

Re:Is 65 years excessive? (1)

toleraen (831634) | more than 7 years ago | (#19335679)

Agreed. But it's not like it's "65 years without parole". He'll get out way before 65 years on good behavior.

Re:Is 65 years excessive? (1)

Toreo asesino (951231) | more than 7 years ago | (#19335207)

Perhaps they should calculate it by:

for each spam email sent:
-for each email opened: +5 seconds
-for each email filtered: +1 second

I predict even on this basis, he'd be picking up the soap for a long time yet.

Re:Is 65 years excessive? (3, Insightful)

AltGrendel (175092) | more than 7 years ago | (#19335219)

Not really.
  • He will probably appeal.
  • He'll say that the sentence is excessive and get it reduced.
  • There's always time off for good behavior.
  • What would be worse is if he's sentenced to have nothing to do with computers in any way, at all, ever.

Re:Is 65 years excessive? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19335407)

Good behaviour? I doubt that the guards would take kindly to his non-stop shouting "ch3ap cyb1ls1!" and "Increase The Number Of Visitors To Your Website With WebBoosTer!"

Re:Is 65 years excessive? (1)

deroby (568773) | more than 7 years ago | (#19335439)

That's not a sentence, that's my ultimate dream ! =)

Re:Is 65 years excessive? (5, Informative)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 7 years ago | (#19335235)

I think that sentence for all charges not just spamming: identity theft, money laundering, and mail, wire, and e-mail fraud. So if you add them all up, 65 years is probably right.

It all goes to show (1)

gilesjuk (604902) | more than 7 years ago | (#19335481)

That spammers are the scum of the earth. They're criminals who should have been stopped long ago before they were allowed to get this devious.

Also those who buy from spammers are encouraging crime.

Re:Is 65 years excessive? (1, Insightful)

Anne Thwacks (531696) | more than 7 years ago | (#19335239)

NO.

Next question

Re:Is 65 years excessive? (5, Insightful)

smooth wombat (796938) | more than 7 years ago | (#19335251)

Is that excessive?


Nope, not in the least. When you consider that he took over people's machines, used those machines to scam people, took their money and laundered it for his own use and forged other people's email addresses for the return addresses on his emails, thus having innocent people harassed, 65 years is a good start.

Solitary confinement with him only able to be out three hours a day would be a good thing. In fact, use his money the government wants to confiscate to pay for his incarceration. That way the taxpayers don't have to foot to the bill for this asshat.

Re:Is 65 years excessive? (2, Insightful)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 7 years ago | (#19335257)

I apply a very simple test: "What does the average murderer/rapist/pedophile get when convicted?" If the answer is less then the person in question I ask "What's worse, what this person did or what they did?" If murder, rape and pedophilia are worse, then I say either those crimes need to have harsher sentences or this is way too excessive. The trick is, do you decrease what spammers get or increase what murderers, rapists and pedophiles get?

Re:Is 65 years excessive? (1)

Henry V .009 (518000) | more than 7 years ago | (#19335293)

Do you decrease what spammers get or increase what murderers, rapists and pedophiles get?

Simple. You hang the bastards. All of them.

Re:Is 65 years excessive? (1)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 7 years ago | (#19335397)

While your solution is simpler, is it the right thing to do? Me, I believe in rehabilitation. I don't think we do it very well under the current system, but I do believe it is possible and that we need to get better at doing it.

Re:Is 65 years excessive? (1)

bberens (965711) | more than 7 years ago | (#19335521)

Rehabilitation is not a deterrent. Public hanging is a deterrent. I would rather deter crime than help people who commit it. I mean hey, it's my money.

Re:Is 65 years excessive? (1)

jimicus (737525) | more than 7 years ago | (#19335607)

Punishment in general isn't a deterrent. If it was, there would be hardly anyone committing murder in the US states which still have the death penalty.

It's often thought that the best deterrent is fear of getting caught. Put police officers on the streets rather than behind desks.

Re:Is 65 years excessive? (1)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 7 years ago | (#19335745)

Public hanging is a deterrent. I would rather deter crime than help people who commit it. I mean hey, it's my money.
I'm sure your president thanks you for buying into the Captialist ideal so much, comrade.

Re:Is 65 years excessive? (1)

oggiejnr (999258) | more than 7 years ago | (#19335827)

I think you ought to the effects the so-called 'bloody code' in England between the 17th and 19th centuries on the crime rate - there was a reason that it was eventually abandoned.

Re:Is 65 years excessive? (5, Insightful)

Solandri (704621) | more than 7 years ago | (#19335399)

apply a very simple test: "What does the average murderer/rapist/pedophile get when convicted?" If the answer is less then the person in question I ask "What's worse, what this person did or what they did?"
You have to be careful because murder/rape/pedophilia is directed at one or a few victims. Spamming is a distributed crime. Each individual victim may have suffered less, but the aggregate damage may be much more.

Is there a difference between stealing $50,000 from a bank, and stealing 1 cent from each of 5 million of the bank's customers? It's the same amount of money, and the same people are going to absorb the cost. But for some reason people think "1 cent per person isn't that much" and decide to let the spammer off easy. Just because the crime is distributed across many victims doesn't make it any less of a crime.

Re:Is 65 years excessive? (1)

Broken scope (973885) | more than 7 years ago | (#19335543)

.01? That would take a ton of panhandling.

Re:Is 65 years excessive? (2, Interesting)

maxume (22995) | more than 7 years ago | (#19335813)

You also have to be careful that you don't over estimate the damages. I would estimate that spam has damaged me to the extent of about $11 over the last five years. I would be satisfied if any individual responsible for more than $0.25 of that had to do a jumping jack, and any individual responsible for more than $2 of it had to do a somersault. Of course, with a billion of us getting spam, some of those guys are going to end up tired and dizzy.

Re:Is 65 years excessive? (1)

phantomlord (38815) | more than 7 years ago | (#19335429)

Lets say this guy committed 100 counts each of identity theft, money laundering, mail fraud, and wire fraud. That's at least 100 lives he's messed up. 100 people who will have credit problems which take dozens of hours and possibly years to repair. A single murder may be worth, oh, 10 years... but this isn't a single case of identity theft, he is a serial identity stealer so if you want to compare his sentence to a murderer, compare him to a serial killer.

Nobody would seriously say someone who sent 1 spam mail should get 65 years in prison. A day of community service maybe, but not 65 years. If he sent one million spams, he should get one million days of community service. Actually, lets be nice and give him a bulk discount, we'll give him 1 hour for every spam. That's 41667 days or a little over 114 years of community service. This guy knew exactly what he was doing and he deliberately defrauded thousands of people, hijacked other people's computers, ruined people's credit, etc. The entire penal system is about punishing people for harming society and this guy went out of his way, and far beyond just being a rude jerk, to treat other people like crap.

Re:Is 65 years excessive? (2, Insightful)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 7 years ago | (#19335449)

So all those things aggregated is worse then a single life is it? Wow. I'm sure glad I don't live in your world.

Re:Is 65 years excessive? (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 7 years ago | (#19335597)

65 years is what he would get if all convicted on all crimes. Most often those murderers/rapists/pedophile are facing hundreds of years in prison on all counts. The actual sentence is shorter due to statutes and practical considerations.

Re:Is 65 years excessive? (1)

Mr. Underbridge (666784) | more than 7 years ago | (#19335285)

I can't decide, what do people think, 65 years is basically a life sentence. Is that excessive?

No, but 65 years of being another man's girlfriend is.

Re:Is 65 years excessive? (1)

MollyB (162595) | more than 7 years ago | (#19335403)

Ha ha. I'd contribute to the K-Y jelly fund.

Unable to be rational here... If thoughts could kill, this guy'd be worm-castings long ago. So he gets free room and board, along with a "roommate". I feel no mercy for him, any more than he felt for us.

Re:Is 65 years excessive? (1)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 7 years ago | (#19335307)

No and yes. No because he did commit a lot of crimes, and yes because sadly, in comparison to a lot of wealthier, better connected white collar criminals he is getting an incredibly harsh sentence. Duke Cunningham's crimes were as bad if not worse, and he only got 8 years and some change.

Sad the way the justice system works.....

Re:Is 65 years excessive? (1)

jimstapleton (999106) | more than 7 years ago | (#19335327)

Think about all the time he's wasted, in total, with a lot of people.

Think about the unpleasantries he's put them through with some of his messages (I don't know which he's done, but I've seen some pretty horrible spam subjects).

I suspect if you locked him up for a duration equal to the total time he took from others, 65 years would be lenient in comparison.

Re:Is 65 years excessive? (1)

timholman (71886) | more than 7 years ago | (#19335337)

I can't decide, what do people think, 65 years is basically a life sentence. Is that excessive?

I think if you added up all the hours of other peoples' lives that have been wasted dealing with the spam he's sent, then 65 years is a fair sentence.

Consider: if 10 million people worldwide spent five minutes of their lives deleting the spams he has mailed, that works out to 95.1 years. An eye for an eye seems only fair.

Re:Is 65 years excessive? (1)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 7 years ago | (#19335491)

"An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind." - Ghandi

Re:Is 65 years excessive? (1)

Broken scope (973885) | more than 7 years ago | (#19335605)

"A witty saying proves nothing." -Voltaire
"A witty saying proves nothing." -Voltaire
and on and on and on and on....

Re:Is 65 years excessive? (1)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 7 years ago | (#19335807)

Yes, I'm sure Ghandi was quite wrong when he pointed out the problem with seeking vengence. After all, India and Pakistan did so well by ignoring him.

Re:Is 65 years excessive? (1)

Broken scope (973885) | more than 7 years ago | (#19335883)

Well fuck me for attempting some small amount of humor.

Re:Is 65 years excessive? (1)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | more than 7 years ago | (#19335383)

Is that excessive?
Hmm no. On the contrary, I think that this sentence is incredibly light. If I were the judge, I'd give him one million years.

Re:Is 65 years excessive? (1)

MathFox (686808) | more than 7 years ago | (#19335455)

65 years is the maximum sentence. While I think that sending people to prison for simply sending out mass-mailings is somewhat excessive, Soloway has committed severer offenses by using botnets and spoofing email headers. It would be fair if he got a year to reconsider his way of life (plus fines to negate his illegal profits).

Re:Is 65 years excessive? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19335463)

yes it is excessive if you consider that killing a person get's you far less than that.

Premeditated murder gets you 30 years and no fines.

So annoying someone via email is worse than killing people.

God help him if they think he hacked anything, they will add 120 years for "hacking".

Our judicial system is Fubared.

Re:Is 65 years excessive? (1)

Broken scope (973885) | more than 7 years ago | (#19335643)

He did far more than just spamming. Why don't you go read the charges against him. Make sure to make note of the number of counts.

Re:Is 65 years excessive? (1)

jrumney (197329) | more than 7 years ago | (#19335581)

A life sentence in some countries is 14 years, in others 25. It seldom means life. So 65 years is excessive. But this has been calculated by adding up all the maximum sentences for his individual crimes as if he would serve time for them end-to-end. Sentencing rarely works like this. Sentences for multiple related crimes are usually served concurrently, so the maximum he is likely to serve is whatever the maximum is for the most serious crime on the list. Also, first time offenders rarely get the maximum sentence.

Re:Is 65 years excessive? (1)

someone1234 (830754) | more than 7 years ago | (#19335651)

Dunno, 250k sounds pocket money. Sadly, he won't receive 65 years either.

Re:Is 65 years excessive? (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 7 years ago | (#19335677)

See the first post :)

If you add up all the time the world has spent deleting the spam he sent, it's probably a lot more than 65 years.

He's getting off easy.

Re:Is 65 years excessive? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19335725)

can I kick him as well? The amount of stress and lost time these guys cause with their nonsense deserves big punishment.

Well, it's a start. (2, Interesting)

AltGrendel (175092) | more than 7 years ago | (#19335137)

Only a couple of... oh, lets say... thousand "Spam Kings" to go.

Minimum.

Re:Well, it's a start. (1)

4e617474 (945414) | more than 7 years ago | (#19335225)

Yes, spam seems to have a lot of kings to arrest. Here's a classic from 2005. [detnews.com] [detnews.com] In addition to ruling as king, he also served as Poster Boy. A real Renaissance spammer.

Thank Goodness (5, Funny)

ReidMaynard (161608) | more than 7 years ago | (#19335141)

Todo List:
[x] Eliminate SPAM From Internet
[ ] Bring peace to Middle East
[ ] Make $1,000,000,000

That's one less thing for me to do now...

Re:Thank Goodness (5, Funny)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#19335199)

I can help you with that last one. You see, my uncle died recently and he was really rich, but I'm having some trouble getting the money out of the country..............

Re:Thank Goodness (1)

guruevi (827432) | more than 7 years ago | (#19335647)

I can help you with the middle one, you see, I was digging around and there was this really large iron shell I found, inside there seems to be a warm, glowing material giving some people around here radiation poisoning. I think you could use it... to bring absolute peace to the Middle East, or you know, make a plot for a really bad movie.

... the flipside (1)

Speare (84249) | more than 7 years ago | (#19335161)

If convicted as charged, Soloway will face a minimum sentence of 1 year suspended, plus time served in county lockup, plus 40 hours community service. Or something useless like that.

When it comes right down to it, do you really have confidence that a judge and/or jury will impose 65 years of incarceration for sending penis pill emails? (Yes, I know there is more to the charges than that.) Kenneth Lay was only facing 20~30 years if he didn't appeal the judgement to a higher power.

Re:... the flipside (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 7 years ago | (#19335259)

When it comes right down to it, do you really have confidence that a judge and/or jury will impose 65 years of incarceration for sending penis pill emails?

Frankly I don't think he deserves it. OTH Kevin Mitnick was banned from using computers for a long time. Maybe something similar should happen here, along with a proportionate sentence.

Re:... the flipside (1)

fireboy1919 (257783) | more than 7 years ago | (#19335537)

Well, because of the botnet thing...yes, if the prosecutors are any good. Invading other people's computers for nefarious purpose is more serious than just sending spam.

and the bad news is (1)

v1 (525388) | more than 7 years ago | (#19335163)

ok, that's 1 down. 12,832 to go.

GNAA (-1, Troll)

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More on Soloway.. (5, Informative)

Dynamoo (527749) | more than 7 years ago | (#19335193)

Soloway also has close ties to other arch-spammers Alex Polyakov [spamhaus.org] and Leo Kuvayev [spamhaus.org] . Between those three there is a substantial involvement in fraud, money laundering and even child pornography. It's hard to say who is responsible for what.. but I betcha that the Russians are running scared that Soloway will really start to talk. I've documented this connection a couple of times in the past (see here [dynamoo.com] and here [dynamoo.com] .)

There's plenty of evidence around to nail Soloway for a long, long time.. but to be honest he's not even the worst spammer out there. I suspect the possibility of a plea bargain is quite likely, so that international law enforcement can get to the even bigger fish.

Re:More on Soloway.. (1)

magarity (164372) | more than 7 years ago | (#19335579)

I betcha that the Russians are running scared that Soloway will really start to talk
 
And I bet that as long as they stay in Russia they really don't care except to be a little happier that a major competitor is out of the picture.

Re:More on Soloway.. (1)

grommit (97148) | more than 7 years ago | (#19335755)

Running scared? You don't know the Russian mafia very well do you? I'm betting they're working out how to get one of their hitmen in the same jail cell as Soloway.

Sweet. I propose another arrest. (2, Interesting)

wazzzup (172351) | more than 7 years ago | (#19335209)

Can we then arrest someone at Microsoft who was responsible for making it so easy to create bots? In my opinion, Windows (and thus Microsoft) is an equal partner in the generation of spam we get today.

I'm kidding about the arrest part but it sure would be nice if Microsoft was called into the spotlight and at least publicly embarrassed for it's key role in spam production. Enough so that even my mom and dad (who think Windows is great) understand the malfeasance done by Windows' pathetic security record.

Re:Sweet. I propose another arrest. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19335531)

Yeah, and while you're at it, why don't you arrest all linux developers since all that spam probably passed through servers running linux. THE COMPUTER/SOFTWARE/NETWORK IS A TOOL!!! Would you blame General Motors for Paris Hilton driving around drunk because they make it too easy for someone to start a car while intoxicated?

Re:Sweet. I propose another arrest. (1)

Lt.Hawkins (17467) | more than 7 years ago | (#19335615)

then also call to task the designer of the SMTP protocol as well, for the horrendous security there that allows forged headers to be passed around.

Oh, wait, there is no security, yet no ones calling for their heads.

Punitive action based on the abuse of a system should go to the abuser, not those who's systems they abuse, whether you're talking about spammers and Windows and SMTP, or a 5 year old kid who's getting abused by his parents. You don't fault the kid, or the baseball bat he's getting hit with.

Re:Sweet. I propose another arrest. (1)

garett_spencley (193892) | more than 7 years ago | (#19335629)

While I do agree that software manufacturers, as well as the manufacturers of any product, have a responsibility to their customers to correct problems with the products that they sold them, I would like to play devil's advocate a little and come to their defense on certain issues.

1) While it might be a little late, Microsoft really has stepped up their security practices. Automatic updates, all of the improvements in XP Service Pack 2 including the firewall, security center etc. Can things be better ? Of course. There's always room for improvement. Should Microsoft have acted sooner ? Probably, but they have smartened up and gone to great lengths to secure Windows. Also, keep in mind that while they've taken action to prevent newer features and software from being installed on "pirated" copies of Windows, they have not disabled security updates. So say whatever you want about their motives, they clearly decided that securing people's machines was in everyone's best interests and didn't follow through with their bully tactics to try and get people to pay money to secure their systems.

2) Windows was conceived, designed and implemented when the Internet was in it's infancy. That doesn't really excuse XP, but you should cut them at least some slack for 95/98/ME. Windows' purpose was to make computing easy for individual users. Networking and all of the security concerns that come with it were an afterthought. Though by the time XP was released there definitely should have been more of an emphasis on security IMO. I can't really excuse them for that one. But as I said in point #1, at least they are taking steps even if it is too late.

3) This one is getting really old but it's still a point that I feel needs to be taken into consideration. Windows has the market share and while I would agree with any argument to the fact that *nix is more secure by design, that doesn't mean that if everyone were running Mac or *nix that botnets would simply not exist. That would be a specious argument as no one can claim it with complete certainty. There's no doubt that virus writers would have to be smarter. There may be way less security issues. But so long as there is profit involved in compromising systems and turning them into zombies there will be people who find ways. I'm willing to argue that there will always be clueless users who will opt not to install security updates out of laziness and/or ignorance. In other words, the argument we've all heard countless times before: Microsoft gets a lot of attention because that's where the profit is. If you're going to compromise systems for profit would it make sense to target 10% of the desktop population or 90% (those numbers are purely figurative and pulled out of thin air but the point is clear I hope) ?

BTW - I'm typing this on a Linux box.

Re:Sweet. I propose another arrest. (1)

garett_spencley (193892) | more than 7 years ago | (#19335665)

But as I said in point #1, at least they are taking steps even if it is too late.

For all the times I hit the preview button I didn't catch that one. I meant to word it as "even if it is a little late". It is never TOO late to step up security.

Now I'll buy penis enlargement pills... (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19335211)

and send them to his jail mates.

Add 1nches! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19335229)

Hopefully, he'll get to find out if those penis enlargement schemes he helped deliver really worked.

Robot Subway Arrested (1)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 7 years ago | (#19335237)

I thought this was going to be about some robot arrested on the subway :(

Ohhhh No! (1)

chris_cob (906318) | more than 7 years ago | (#19335323)

How will I find out how to get my little blue pills at a discounted price now!!! OR what about how to gain another 1-2 inches!!!

This is truly a black day

A crime? (-1, Troll)

oyenstikker (536040) | more than 7 years ago | (#19335331)

Why exactly is spam illegal? If you are presenting false information or running pump and dump schemes you may be breaking other preexisting laws, so another law is not required. But why is it illegal to send out large amounts of messages in accordance with the SMTP protocols?

If we are banning things that are annoying, I've got a long list of things to ban.

Re:A crime? (1)

imsabbel (611519) | more than 7 years ago | (#19335389)

For the same reason its illegal to fuck your children (or do anything else that illegal):
At one point, society felt disgusted about it. Enough so that laws are created to punish it.

Re:A crime? (1)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 7 years ago | (#19335535)

That's not really a good example... Having sex with your children is harmful to them and the human race both, as it creates mental issues and greatly increases the possibility of genetic defects in offspring. I'd hardly say 'disgust' is the only reason that law exists.

Re:A crime? (1)

geonetix (1021855) | more than 7 years ago | (#19335693)

And having issues with the size of your penis isn't harmful to a lot of men reading spam?

Tyranny (1)

poptones (653660) | more than 7 years ago | (#19335591)

And THAT is the problem - reactionary responses from one issue to the next, never mind if they are based on logic or reason. The media hypes the most titillating stories to the point of makign the "problem" appear far worse than it is, society reacts like a herd of blathering sheep and politicians, afraid to lead with logic and reason that they may be removed from their lofty posts, bow down to their blatherings.

"At one point" society has felt disgusted about many things that are none of society's business.

This is why it's called the tyranny of the majority, my friend.

Not defending spammers (or baby rapists), but essentially calling any laws just and reasonable simply because "society put them there" is anathema to liberty. We were warned fo this hundreds of years ago, but the truth is that whole "logic and reason" thing really gets in the way of absolute government and corporate control, so few opportunities exist today to be reminded of such...

Re:A crime? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19335527)

The reason this is a crime is because spam is not only annoying, but its a huge tax on network resources, from the bandwidth for sending it to the disk space to store it on servers.

Re:A crime? (3, Informative)

simong (32944) | more than 7 years ago | (#19335547)

In this case it's about the illegal use of resources - botnets work by hacking PCs and using them to send mail via their Internet connections, which in most countries would be punishable under their equivalent of the UK Wireless Telegraphy Act [opsi.gov.uk] (actually I think the 2006 revision changed that, but the principle is still there) irrespective of the content in the spam. Also, the vast percentage of spam promotes illegal or semi-illegal products or is a front for scams. Yes, anyone who responds to spam is a fool, but in the end, if they're conned out of anything than a crime has been committed somewhere.

Re:A crime? (1)

Tuoqui (1091447) | more than 7 years ago | (#19335715)

Well if you dont know maybe we should get Senator Ted 'Tubes' Stevens to give you some edumacation on the internet tubes. Because when they're clogged with ads for penis enlargement, breast enlargement and viagra it dont let your race horse or lottery bets go through.

Re:A crime? (1)

Obsi (912791) | more than 7 years ago | (#19335875)

The thing trolls don't get is that if the tubes are clogged with spam, there's not enough space left in said tubes for their trolls.

Always remember... (1)

d3m0nCr4t (869332) | more than 7 years ago | (#19335369)

Robert Soloway shot first.

I just wanted to point out (1)

spamking (967666) | more than 7 years ago | (#19335477)

that I am in no way shape or form associated with Robert Soloway.

Is this the stiffest penalty a spammer has ever received?

Thank you. We now return you to your regular /. programming.

Re:I just wanted to point out (1)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 7 years ago | (#19335567)

that I am in no way shape or form associated with Robert Soloway.
For that matter, I've never seen the television show called Firefly.

Is this the stiffest penalty a spammer has ever received?
He hasn't received anything yet, wait until he is actually sentenced to start comparing penalties. Additionally, as others have pointed out the sentence is for a whole host of other crimes apart from just spamming.

I hate spam as much as the next guy, but... (4, Insightful)

N3wsByt3 (758224) | more than 7 years ago | (#19335479)

*65* years? That seems way over the top. Why can't laws just reflect some reason in the usa?

Yes, sure...he did more then just spam. But even murderers often come off with less then 65 years, so is spam, impersonating people, using botnets, etc. *really* worse than murdering people?

People should get a grip.

I'm all for laws against spam and all the rest of it, but hell, 5 years + a considerable fine is more than enough.

Re:I hate spam as much as the next guy, but... (1)

JordanL (886154) | more than 7 years ago | (#19335609)

Murders affect several people severely and one person terminally. Depending on a few factors, a single one can get you the death penalty.

His crimes affected literally hundreds of millions of people, and cost untold billions to counteract.

65 years is too long? Fuck that. Lock him up and throw away the key.

I hate spammers... (1)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 7 years ago | (#19335553)

... as much as the next guy but am I the only one that feels like the jail sentence is way too high & the fine way too low?

Soloway Mocks MS Suit - Will he mock again? (5, Informative)

newsact (1094163) | more than 7 years ago | (#19335555)

Spamhaus Project has a rather long list of Soloway's recorded history. He mocks every attempt to nail him such us the lawsuit from Microsoft http://www.spamhaus.org/rokso/evidence.lasso?rokso _id=ROK5164 [spamhaus.org] We will probably do the same again...

"I've been in business for over 10 years with the best accountants in the world, and lawyers in all 50 states that know how to run my business legally and protect me from all lawsuits that come my way.. not a concern.. I just pay them a few hours of my work and they take care of the entire cases for me..."

Get real, people (4, Insightful)

djupedal (584558) | more than 7 years ago | (#19335613)

Every single person here has been affected by this guy - some more than others, but all negatively. This is not the time to turn the other cheek, because every time you deleted one of his emails, you were doing just that.

Now is the time for him to get the short/pointy end of the stick...the stick that he sharpened and used on all of us. He took time away from each of us that we will never get back. Talking about fair this or fair that in terms of years behind bars....are you serious? Wake up. This guy leached your life and given the opportunity, he would not hesitate to do it again.

It is only fair to take his time away from him until he has no more.

Anyone else think we have our priorities mixed? (3, Interesting)

StringBlade (557322) | more than 7 years ago | (#19335625)

If convicted as charged, Soloway will face a maximum sentence of more than 65 years in prison and a fine of 250,000 dollars.

However, if you infringe on someone's copyright in the U.S. then your maximum fine is $250,000 per infringement not to mention a possible 5 year jail sentence as well.

Clearly spam's a problem, but not as big of a problem as Napster and Limewire - after all, the Spam King was making money and Napster was just giving away music!

Lesson: If you're going to be a nuisance to people and corporations, make sure you make lots of money doing it so your punishment isn't as severe for proving you're a good capitalistic American.

Re:Anyone else think we have our priorities mixed? (1)

spyrochaete (707033) | more than 7 years ago | (#19335695)

More like:

Lesson: If you're going to be a nuisance then annoy the proletariat, not millionaires.

Sentence is too severe. (2, Insightful)

Lethyos (408045) | more than 7 years ago | (#19335645)

I hate spam as much as the next guy. That being said, 65 years in jail and a quarter million in fines (even assuming he gets half of that) is just too much. This is the sort of sentence you should impose on murderers, not electronic irritants who use a system designed specifically to allow anyone to said pretty much anything to whoever they please. In short: hurt him, but not too much.

Re:Sentence is too severe. (1, Insightful)

spyrochaete (707033) | more than 7 years ago | (#19335741)

A quarter million bucks is peanuts for this guy. He made his fortune by hijacking people's personal computers and corporate and public email servers. He is responsible for reducing people's trust in computers and telecommunication and is partly responsible for the billions of dollars worth of preventive maintenance and lost productivity in corporations worldwide.

I agree that 65 years would be overkill, but I'm sure this is the maximum penalty. Then again, it's important to make an example of this guy to remove the glamour from the prospect of becoming a new spam king.

In my opinion this guy should lose every penny he made from spam, should go to jail for 10 years, and be banned from using computers for life.

Fullest extent of the law (1)

jzuska (65827) | more than 7 years ago | (#19335691)

I sure hope that sentence is carried out, all of it. In fact I think torture should be leagalized for this. Can we call him a terrorist and transfer him to gitmo. Come on, you know McCain would agree.

Hmm (1)

p4rri11iz3r (1084543) | more than 7 years ago | (#19335859)

they called him "Spam King."
Something tells me he'll have a different name in prison...

Oblig. (1)

Karganeth (1017580) | more than 7 years ago | (#19335867)

In a perfect world... spammers would get caught, go to jail, and share a cell with many men who have enlarged their penisses, taken Viagra and are looking for a new relationship.
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