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Spammers Face Jail Time 184

Posted by timothy
from the as-well-they-ought dept.
Lumpish Scholar writes: "An article posted in a couple of places (here (1)( and here (2)) talks about two San Diego spammers who face up to nine years in prison for spamming (and crashing an open relay in the process)." Naturally, tbe D.A. reports that the two spammers arrested "appeared convinced that what they were doing wasn't illegal." Can this really be only the second time spammers have been prosecuted? That might explain all the pink goop clogging my inbox ...
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Spammers Face Jail Time

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  • To me, the law isn't the answer, tighter mail servers, and tighter free email systems... And better locks and bars on the windows are the answer to breaking and entering?
  • by carlhirsch (87880) on Thursday March 15, 2001 @05:46AM (#361979) Homepage
    Does anybody remember last year's /. story about the group of Spammers/Telemarketers that got burned by some guy who was Mad As Hell and Not Going to Take it Anymore?

    The guy did a little investigation of the business and ended up cracking their network, and coming up with all kinds of compromising material like contact info and n00dz. I think the company was in Tennesee or thereabouts.

    It was either brilliant pranksterism, an elaborate hoax, or a disgruntled ex employee/boyfriend. Never was quite sure which.

    I did a quick search of the archives and didn't find the story. I'd be real interested in knowing what the aftermath of that story was.

    -carl
  • > Ridiculous. Counterfeit money allows someone to
    > steal merchandise from merchants, without the
    > merchant getting paid for it.

    Spammers have stolen for thousands of dollars of my time, and much more from the ISP's.

    > Spam's effect on electronic communication is
    > more like a fat person's affect on your
    > sidewalk. While he's there, you can't use the
    > sidewalk, but once he passes, it's usable again.

    Right except the spammers _haven't_ passed, and they have been their so long that most people have forgotten the sidewalk even existed.

    > Spam needs technical solutions,

    I bullet through the head of the spammer is the only lasting techincal solution.

    > not legislators passing a bunch of stupid laws.

    Well, then *remove* the laws that prevent us from implementing the technical solutions.

    You are probably new to the net, but I have seen virtual communities die because of spam. It is not a pretty sight. Had you expeirenced that first hand, you would not be so soft on spammers.

  • You are probably new to the net, but I have seen virtual communities die because of spam. It is not a pretty sight. Had you expeirenced that first hand, you would not be so soft on spammers.

    New to the net? Let's see. I've been using computers since 1977, getting paid to do so since 1986.

    I started my first BBS in 1981. I have been using the Internet in one form or another since 1989.

    I designed and built my home town's first ISP, and administrated it until it reached over 1,500 customers, including occasionally spending an afternoon sending out cancels for my own user's Usenet spam violations.

    I was my Fidonet net's NC, and served as NEC since nobody else wanted to pony up the bucks to transport the echoes. I had to, since I was the co-moderator of one.

    Currently I get paid to administrate Unix systems and TCP/IP networks for Fortune 100 companies. I'm currently responsible for several hundred such systems in three data centers in as many time zones, and we're discussing taking over support for some systems in Brussels and Singapore.

    I suspect I have at least as much 'net experience as you do, son.

    Right except the spammers _haven't_ passed, and they have been their so long that most people have forgotten the sidewalk even existed.

    A lot of fat people can walk down a given sidewalk on a given day. It still doesn't mean you're deprived of the use of the sidewalk. I get quite a bit of spam every day, and I still manage to keep up with a dozen mailing lists, several of which I moderate, and all my business-related email, as well as communicating via email with my large extended family, many of whom also work in the computer industry. Oh, and I'm about to take over as moderator of a popular web discussion site devoted to Airsoft. No, it's not AirsoftZone.

    Well, then *remove* the laws that prevent us from implementing the technical solutions.

    Sorry, I kind of like the First Amendment. You'll get no help from me there.


    -
  • I believe they have one at http://goatse.cx [goatse.cx] ;-)

  • In the UK hackers and phreakers are usually prosecuted for "theft of electricity"
    .oO0Oo.
  • ...there isn't a law regarding spamming. You can only start prosecuting if by the actions of them spamming they do other damage.

    The law has been slow to catch up with reality again. Traditionally, there hasn't been a law against spamming because there was a barrier to entry - with snail mail, spamming costs a lot of money. All you need to be able to spam now is a list and some time.
  • Mostly, we all sit here on /. and complain about spam; but if we'd make an organized effort to write to our representatives to have a law passed to ban spam, we might have a lot better weapon against it. We ought to organize a letter-writing campaign. [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    No additional laws should be needed. These fuckers operate by spoofing an address to appear as if it came from the ISP dumb enough to allow an open relay.

    It's fraud, plain and simple, and there are laws already in place to deal with that. I'm sure there is already something that will cover the sheer volume of crap they send as well.

  • While your dreaming of that, I'll do what I've always done.



    Go to some place like contest junction and flood the return email addresses back. Hey, its rude, but it works. I usually sign the spammer up for as many porn in your email things as I can find, and then I hit em with virtual greeting from somewhere tellin em to eat it.


  • Seriously. In both cases I just can't bring myself to feel anything but mild glee over punishment being meted out to those being taken to court...but I'm not sure I'm comfortable with the precedent that it sets.

    This paragraph from the article, in particular:

    In this case, the crime was elevated to felony status because the spam was sent using an unauthorized e-mail account and caused tens of thousands of dollars worth of damage.

    As with so many of the "hacking" (cracking) cases, I REALLY wonder which orifice they pulled this dollar figure out of. Every time this happens, the notion that "hacking" (as the mainstream media calls it) ALWAYS results in HUGE expenses for the victim is more firmly engrained in public consciousness. Appending the words "with a computer" to the description of a crime causes the same ridiculous overreaction among legal types and the media as adding it to a patent seems to have on the US PTO, and cases like this don't help the problem.

    Further, this precedent is subject to serious abuses. Imagine you start receiving a pile of junk email which appears that it may be relayed from one particular server. Perhaps, in an effort to be helpful, you decide to test the relay by sending a single message to yourself through it. You find the server does, indeed relay, and you report your findings to the ISP. The ISP's sysadmin, embarassed, reports you to the ISP's lawyers and you find YOURSELF being sued for "using an unauthorized e-mail account", and "costing" the ISP thousands of alleged dollars (It'll cost them thousands in advertising to 'spin' the incident until they get over the embarassment, you see...).

    This kind of thing already happens too much, and will happen more since it's facilitated by minimally clueful (how's that for politically correct?) legislators, who pass laws like the DMCA.

    ("What, you legally purchased that DVD and the computer equipment you're using to view it? Doesn't matter, you embarassed us and we're suing you for using an unauthorized decoder...And claiming you cost us millions of dollars by doing so, you filthy pirate.")

    Spamming definitely "feels" like a crime to me, but more of the "30 days in county jail, a couple of weeks of community service, and a fine" variety rather than the "up to 9 years in prison" sort.


    ---
    "They have strategic air commands, nuclear submarines, and John Wayne. We have this"
  • by BleemZ (219985)
    Ya know when they release those estimates about how much spam really costs?


    I bet they don`t include the traffic from people directed at the TOS guys, or the TOS guys salaries.

    Think about it, there are actual people out there that only have a job because of email abuse!

    Isn`t that sad? Spammers have created jobs that people depend on.

    ugh, that is scary.

  • the cost of crime to the GDP is the main factor.

    Crimes against property are traditionally dealth with more harshly than crimes against the person save in the extreme (gbh, rape, murder etc.) because minor injuries don't cost much to treat.

    Political campaingers have been victim of this.
    Steal a rabbit from a lab and get 10 years. Kill someone while driving drunk and get 19 months.
    .oO0Oo.
  • Back in the days when computer time was a valuable resource (i.e. before PCs), stealing computer time was an offense and you could prosecuted for it. However, there have been changes since then. Although the actual computer time stolen is no longer at the issue, the cost of repairing any damage and the cost of the investigation into an incident can be considered "damage" and be used as part of the threshold necessary to make it a federal crime.
  • I stand corrected, I have read your anti-spam advice. I think it's stupid and is approaching the problem fromm the wrong end.
  • Spam has the same effect on electronic communication as counterfeit money has on the economy.

    Excellent analogy. Spammers effectively steal bandwidth from anybody they spam, just as counterfeiters effectively steal goods and services from the recipients of the bogus bills. Spammers taint the credibility of legitimate broadcast e-mail (opt-in lists) and net advertising (agreed-upon tie-ins between services and marketing), just as counterfeiters taint the credibility of legitimate money. Spammers cause some legitimate e-mail to be rejected by anti-spam defenses, just as counterfeiters cause some legitimate money to be rejected because it is mistaken for counterfeit.
    /.

  • Maybe I'm not understanding, but I'm not sure how spamming causes such a loss of money? You get spam, you click the delete button, or possibly the block sender button (depending on your email client). Yah, I get pissed off like everyone else, especially when I get a good email account that I like, but this is analogus to getting flyers in the mail, I hate flyers. I grab those flyers and put them in the recycling bin.

    Having said that, yes I believe that all mail servers should not allow relaying. And there are ways around not allowing relaying for off site people to send mail. The system keeps a log, if the account has logged in in the last 5 minutes, then as long as their IP is the same, they can send mail. Of course this requires the person the check their email before sending. And of course it has some holes, but it's better than just allowing mail to bounce on through. I can't believe how much of my spam comes through the crosswinds.net mail servers. At least it used to.

    Legal recourse... it's nice to watch someone tossed in jail for something like this, but I haven't seen Dick Clark put in jail for the Publisher's Clearing House crap mail.

    To me, the law isn't the answer, tighter mail servers, and tighter free email systems (like hotmail... but don't ask me for details on how to make them tighter so they're less likely used for spamming, I don't know, I'm not about to think about it right now 'cause I'm not fixing them right now), and your mouse pointer over the delete, or your finger on the delete key.

    Not so hard is it? Oh yah, and don't worry about it... but if you get 10000 messages a day, stop using your email account to sign up for stuff on the Internet!! Create a spam email account for that purpose!

  • forward EVERY piece of uu.net originated spam to sales@uu.net, info@uu.net
    Beautiful! I'm all over it.

    I have irritated the sales scum to the point they have told their pink contracts to remove my email. I used to get 7 spams a day - now its less than one a week.
    I wonder if a similar thing is responsible for my decrease as well. I always forward it to abuse@uu.net (via SpamCop) despite the fact that I was convinced that the abuse@ account was a black hole that never gets read. (and it *really* irks me to get their auto-generated replies that say how they consider spam to be a serious problem and that they are going to take the appropriate measures to stop the owner of the offending account....HA) But maybe somebody *does* read that stuff and they got tired of me spamming them. The number of complaints I sent to that address every week was staggering, now it's one or two.

    By the way, Vice President Clint Smith of uu.net is responsible for the pro spam stance according to spamhaus.org
    Makes you wonder if *he* ever gets any spam.

    If i can confirm his email, i know what i'll use for all those free reg sites!
    Dude! You know where to find me. :)
  • Privacy is not a right, it's a notion.
    Ultimately you have no real privacy. You are required to show where you spend every penny of your money, declare every penny you receive, if the state chooses it can monitor your communications and if they don't like what you think it's off to the mental hospital for some 're-education'.
    .oO0Oo.
  • Cute idea, but it belies ignorance about how things actually work. LOTS of people already do just what you're saying: I've never heard of ANY making it to the courts, for several reasons:

    1. Court is expensive and time-consuming. If your idea works so well, how many spammers have YOU taken to court?

    2. Before you can even enter the court system, you have to identify the plaintiff. Whoops, there goes more time and expense.

    3. Even if you win, collection is a bear.

    4. It's highly unlikely that the judge will accept receipt of an SMTP banner as constituting a valid contract -- unless that's specifically written into law. In the one place it's implied (Calif. Business and Professions Code 17538.45 (f)(3)(B) [suespammers.org]), it's still debatable, and never been tried.

    Having said this, some people *have* dunned spammers and collected. See this post [suespammers.org].

    In short: Your idea is an unoriginal fantasy. If I were still a moderator, I'd mark you post down as "inaccurate".

    --Tom Geller, founder, The Suespammers Project [suespammers.org].

  • It's all about scale.. both spamming, and slapping display total contempt for others.

    Why should causing a minor irritation for millions, and a major one for the hijacked mail relays admins, owners and customers, not attract a severe punishment? I'd accept that life, or capitol punishment would be waay too strong (probably ;),but a minor act affecting millions (and there's little point spamming unless you do it by the million) should be treated as seriously as a major act affecting only a very few.

    EZ
  • "the spam was sent using an unauthorized e-mail account and caused tens of thousands of dollars worth of damage"

    These guys weren't just innocent businessman trying to advertise, they were trying to do something slick...and I for one hope they get hammered.

  • um, yea, just what we need... more laws.
    Not to mention, laws governing the internet.
    Do we have laws against junk mail?
    Hmmm... I still receive quite a bit in my home mailbox... must not be.
    Spam is annoying, but there's no reason we need more laws.
  • "They appeared convinced that what they were doing wasn't illegal"?
    I'm glad that these guys got what was coming to them. Ignorance of the law has never been an allowable excuse for any other computer based crime (even if that so-called crime is merely someone doing something basically harmless, with no intent other than learning about how to play on networks). Seeing someone who DID have an intrusive intent arguing a defense that hasn't protected those that didn't and not getting away with it is definitely minor key justice being done.
    Now if only this can become a good, solid precedent...
  • I remember when I accidentally sent a message to one of my friends (the mail got sifted through a giant procmailrc). I had attached a Perl script that he had asked for, and when they sifted the message, the auto-replied to me with a Cease and Desist(?), all because I had attached a Perl script that they thought was a virus...
  • Tell me again why spamming warrants a longer jail term than some violent crime?

    "... up to nine years ...." IANAL, but it's my understanding that maximum penalties usually don't mean much -- they're useful for sound bites and little else. It's the minimum punishment (if any) that's important. I don't know the details here, but even if they're convicted, I bet they get a "community service" sentence that no one will care if they actually serve.

  • by truthsearch (249536) on Thursday March 15, 2001 @05:53AM (#362003) Homepage Journal
    Wouldn't it only have to cost someone something, not necessarily break it? Stealing is itself a crime.
  • The Ohio Lawmakers are attempting to push through a law [state.oh.us]where the receipient of spam can take the offenders to small claims court if they dishonor a request to be taken off an opt-in list. For each piece of spam, you're entitiled to 100 bucks; however it has to go through small claims court. They've got to send you a spam, you call them to be taken off (If you can't call them, you win) the list, and if they email you again, they're hit. I heard it on the radio today, and thought it would go well with this. Ian
  • I REALLY wonder which orifice they pulled this dollar figure out of

    The same orifice the classic newsposting quote came from:
    "This post will end up costing the net hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars. Are you sure you want to continue?"
    I still chuckle about that one once in a while....

  • I'd like to see the sys admins get prosecuted for leaving their mail server as an open-relay That was in jest
  • Next time I am spammed, I'll reply to the mail with this article.
  • They should have to stand in line at the DMV for people as punishment. And I am talking the worst DMV in the nation - Washington, D.C. That will teach them. I frickin' hate spam.
  • I wish that there was a way for me to trade the kilos of junk mail that gets left in my mailbox for spam. I find spam as annoying as the next guy but I just delete it. Physical spam (junk mail) is far more invasive and expensive.

    I don't understand this effort to eliminate electronic junk mail, while expensive, hard on the environment, physical junk mail continues. If I'm allowed to mail thousands of unwanted pieces of physical mail to occupant why shouldn't I be allowed to do it with the electronic alternative. (I say stop them both.)

    Recycle? Why cycle in the first place?

  • There are many, many anti-spammers working on a solution, and if the solution to spam were this simple it would have been done years ago.

    Why has this not been done? It requires work and co-operation. No one has created the perl scripts to parse the mail headder then create a report (the mail analysis part of the service)

    Then you have to spend $0.34 to mail them a bill. And, do that a few times.

    Then, you have to have a central place where people can sell the unpaid debt, so others can then BUY the debt and then take the debtor to court. (again, more software and bandwidth) And, the person buying the debt then needs to spend $$$ to take the spammer to court.

    Also, ISPs have no legal obligation to help you find a spammer's real name/address

    Sure you can. If a judge says so, they have to or face comtempt charges. The discovery process *IS* your friend.

    out of the country
    Yup. Its a problem. Look though at the content of the out of country crap however. If it is not for a product to buy, why even send the spam? If it is "no longer a domestic problem" and is instead an "international issue", and the content is more 'crap' than 'legit' content, the argument about it being a "valued service" goes out the window. With less pro than con arguments on a national level, legislation-however well intended, will get passed in the name of stemming the flow of the spam.

    If a few get wacked, and wacked over and over again in small claims court, others will think "do I want to run this risk - no". It won't STOP the problem, but it will put a dent in the problem.

  • Great idea. We'll compile a list of all of the affected class. Then we'll send them all emails to tell them about this new class-action suit against people who send out unsolicited bulk emails...

    Oh...wait a minnit...
  • to prosecute felonious spamming. Something actually has to break, not just use up someones electrons or time reading email. And, they have to be stupid enough to be caught. These guys were pretty clueless.

  • I can't honestly believe that I can keep someone from saying what they want to say.

    (stopping) Spamming has nothing to do with stopping someone from saying what they want to say.

    It has everything to do with preventing someone from harassing you.

    I mean, what if someone sends spam about a political situation or a crime being committed by a public figure? Should THAT be banned as well?

    Yes, just like if someone wants to use a megaphone in a residential area at 4AM to broadcast the same message.

    Spammers have the right to say what they want. They do not have the right to abuse someone else's computer resources to do it.

  • First of all, loss of money is easy. How much bandwidth is being used by spammers? Who pays for bandwidth? The RECIPIENT! Who pays for the publisher's clearinghouse crap? THE PUBLISHER'S CLEARINGHOUSE! There's the big difference.

    Besides, in this case the spammers crashed the machine they were (illegally!) using as a relay. Theft of service, vandalism, and the like.

    As far as separate accounts for spam vs. real mail, I don't want to go to the effort of avoiding spammers--I want to drive them into the dirt, where they belong.

  • "Uh, I`m not talking about random spam, because I never get that kind"

    So you only get spam you ask for? What's your complaint then?

    "I`m talking about spam from people trying to sell me things, and then giving me their email address to contact them. "

    With the exception of stupid chain letters, all spam is from people trying to sell you things. I've collected a few of the more obnoxious spams I've received over the years (to hunt down the source and report them) and I've never seen one with a legitimate return address in either the header or body; to do so would be sheer suicide on the senders part. What I usually find is a message full of annoying html tags and a link to an equally obnoxious web page. Even here, it's unlikely I'll find a real e-mail address (save the one from the site admin, who generally isn't connected to the spamming and doesn't deserve an inbox of irate messages).

    "Its really simple if you use your brain, try to follow along"

    Ok, I'll sure try!

    "JoeSchmoe emails me and tries to get me to buy his audio cassette tapes that teach me the meaning of life, I have to email him and ask em for it so its not considered spam anymore, because I`m asking to be contacted back"

    Do you know what the definition of spam is? It's *unsolicited*, mass distributed email. By this definition, the message Joe Schmoe sent you is spam. How is weather you replied to Joe's message or not relevent? It must be over my head.

    The way I see things, if you have indeed received spam that contains the legitimate return address of the sender, then by their sheer stupidity, do in a sense deserve what they receive. However, how do your knee-jerk actions help anyone? You've done nothing to help curb the enless flow of garbage that lands in the peoples' inbox and have in fact, made it worse. Wouldn't it be more productive to hunt down the origin of the spam and be sure it gets added to a black hole list? Is your bandwidth wasting tactic of sending junk and signing up to lists the offender in any way negating the bandwidth loss caused by their actions? I just cooked this up with my lil' ol' brain, so maybe you could enlighten me (and the rest of the Slashdot readers) what you're taking about, since it's not making a bit of sense .

    "See where I`m goin with this, or is it over your head?"

    Could you help me, please? I honestly don't see the point of your message other than you like to be obnoxious or don't want to take the time and/or don't know how to read a header and determine the origin of an email (faked or not).

    Perhaps next time you could refrain from making specious assumptions and could limit your use of personal attacks; they make you appear infantile.

    ----Was this over your head?
  • So, when you connect to an open webserver (yahoo, /., etc.) is it criminal to connect to it if the admin hasn't granted you specificly to access the computer? No, it isn't. So, why should any other service be different in the eyes of the law? Any service that is left open to the public for access without authorization can't really be prosecuted under this law. This would include telnet (MUD's), www, FTPanon, _open netbios shares_, gaming servers, and anything else (including open relays).

  • by xXunderdogXx (315464) on Thursday March 15, 2001 @05:29AM (#362017) Homepage Journal

    What I don't understand is why people keep sending me porno ads to my ICQ account. And whenever I reply to the sender I never get an answer! Are these people really that busy they can't talk to somebody who they messenged? I want to carry on a conversation with a spammer. Get to know them. See what makes them tick!

    -underd.o.g-

  • yes, but the kiddie pix traders may not live out their terms, and they will certainly have lots of new boyfriends. (One of my high school football coaches (volunteer) had a full time job at as a head of security at a major prison - the guards don't see much or hear much when pedofiles get gang raped in the shower.

    And to answer your question, no 9 years is not excessive. It needs to be enough deterent to stop the existing volume of spam, before it completely cripples the system.

  • Death sentence for trolling?
    --
  • You read my mind. All spammers should have to take the "Prison Proctology" course! Repeat after me: "No, I will not send spam! Ow! No I will not send spam! Yeeaaaoooowwww!"
  • ... in Norway now makes it illegall to send someone a "commercial e-mail" without first opptaining the recievers permission.

    There is talk also about expanding this to telefon sale, but some are conserned about non-profit organisations that rely on gift/lottery sales generated by this.

    Unfortunaly this law doesent help mutch as (almost) all the spam I get are from outside Norway.

  • You are wrong. Search the CA code on line (you can get there from http://www.ca.gov )for unsolicited && electronic and you'll find it in the Business & Professions code as a misdemeanor (section 1738, if my 5 minute memory is working). Couldn't find the felony one in 5 minutes, though - anybody? It also specifically becomes moot if the feds pass a law.
  • by gwizah (236406) on Thursday March 15, 2001 @05:58AM (#362023) Homepage
    You mean the story [slashdot.org] about this guy? [freewebsites.com]
    Personally, I think it was hilarious! Im not sure what ended up happening either. It was just a funny "take back the net" story.
  • That should be Vigo that Carpathian.
    ---
    Vollernurd.

  • Don't compare it with violent crime, compare it with counterfeit money. Spam has the same effect on electronic communication as coutnerfeit money has on the economy.

    Ridiculous. Counterfeit money allows someone to steal merchandise from merchants, without the merchant getting paid for it.

    Spam's effect on electronic communication is more like a fat person's affect on your sidewalk. While he's there, you can't use the sidewalk, but once he passes, it's usable again.

    If he happens to be so heavy he cracks the sidewalk, you make him pay to fix it, probably in small claims court unless he's a good person and just says "sorry, send me the bill, real sorry about that".

    If a spammer breaks your box, he should have to pay to fix it. If he crashes it causing it to reboot, you should be able to collect for whatever business you lost in the time it took to reboot.

    Other than that, it's an annoyance, not a crime.

    Spam needs technical solutions, not legislators passing a bunch of stupid laws. We have too damn many laws in this country now, it's caused a climate in which nobody respects the law anymore because it's not possible to get through the day without violating a few.

    -
  • by hawk (1151) <hawk@eyry.org> on Thursday March 15, 2001 @06:05AM (#362044) Journal
    I am a lawyer, but this is not legal advice. If you need legal advice, contact an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction.



    That is the *maximum* they can face on these charges. *Any* felony is punishable by a year or more in jail (2 yr minimum in some states). The criminal charge covers all crimes of that type, and has a sentencing range. It's much more likely that these guys get a much shorter sentence, or no incarceration at all. My guess would be probabtion including a month or two in the county jail rather than a priison sentence.


    hawk, esq.

  • Being the Anti-Spam monkey at my ISP, I'd like to see the sys admins get prosecuted for leaving their mail server as an open-relay. If you run a mail server and you leave it open to relaying you are part of the Spam problem. But, I'm glad to see someone finally get prosecuted for spamming.
  • I have been wondering this also. Have free speech organizations such as the ACLU had any comment on this? Clearly, spam laws violate the first amendment. There is a very fine line between sending unsolicited e-mail to sell a service, and to send an e-mail for a political cause requesting donations.

    The bottom line is: what right does the government have dictating who can send e-mail to who, and what the content is? That's exactly what a spam law does.
  • The house analogy is pretty weak, though. How about a "bridge" analogy?

    Let's say you build a bridge in a public place; it spans a river, and links two communities together. Let's say further that while you posess the bridge, it is to some extent open to the public.

    The question is, how much control will you exercise over access to the bridge? Will you charge a toll? Are the access control methods sufficient to prevent non-toll-payers from crossing the bridge? Finally, how accountable are you for the the traffic of criminals across the bridge?

    Most Internet infrastrucure is absolutely not anaologous to a house - it's analogous to other forms of infrastructure.

  • Lawsuits for harassment are illegal.

    It's only harassment if the suit is groundless. In some parts of the country, being spammed is explicitly grounds for a suit.

  • There are many, many anti-spammers working on a solution, and if the solution to spam were this simple it would have been done years ago. It would be real tough for the "processing fee" part to hold up. I'm assuming this notice would be sent during the SMTP session, which means the spammer would never actually read it, which seems like a pretty solid argument in court. If I give someone a contract, they actually have to sign it before it is valid.

    Also, ISPs have no legal obligation to help you find a spammer's real name/address. They don't benefit from helping you at all, so why would they cooperate?

    Also, this wouldn't work for mail sent through open relays (since the open relay sees your SMTP notice, not the actual spammer), or mail sent from other countries. How are you going to take a Chinese spammer to small claims court?

    --

  • chmod a+x ./spammer ; ./spammer ; echo "Now executing the spammer"

    --
    Tres_Status
  • It would be better to have owners of SMTP servers do more to prevent spam. I would rather not see a new law specifically aimed at spam if it can be prevented at the source. Granted, this wouldn't completely solve the problem, but would eliminate a lot of it without forcing yet another law on people.
  • by Erasmus Darwin (183180) on Thursday March 15, 2001 @06:32AM (#362064)
    It's nice to see that some jerks may do hard time for that, but it would be even nicer if they are punished becaause of the actual act of spamming.

    Yes, but we are getting closer. The last "Spammers Jailed" [slashdot.org] story seemed to imply they might've been jailed because of the scam rather than the spam. In today's case, however, the crime was a direct consequence of the spamming -- even if the item being spammed was something that would've been totally legal/legit to sell via normal means.

    Also, the things that bumped the crime up to a felony were things that weren't direct actions of the spammer but rather the consequences of their actions. From the POV of the spammer, it was just generically spamming through an open-relay.

    So it's not ideal, but it's still Pretty Damn Good, IMO.

  • It might be a stretch to say that by sending SPAM to your POP3 server, that they had used your computer to retrieve and store SPAM without authorization.

    Even that could be argued. CAUCE [cauce.org] has been promoting an SMTP-banner-based, machine-parsable policy [cauce.org]. Someone with such a banner would be in a better position to claim that the spamming was unauthorized access.

  • The humor is not in the fact that the spammer is being sexually assaulted. The humor is in the fact that most spammers don't realize what they are doing hurts other people.

    And as for prisons... well, I'd really like to live in a world where the American judicaial system sent people to prison to rehabilitate them rather than punish them.
  • If I spam 10,000 users with get rich quick schemes and no server falls over then what case do people have to bring me to court?

    Postal Fraud/Postal Lottery Statutes.

    From the US Postal Service: http://www.usps.com/websites/depart/inspect/chainl et.htm Chain Letters A chain letter is a "get rich quick" scheme that promises that your mail box will soon be stuffed full of cash if you decide to participate. You're told you can make thousands of dollars every month if you follow the detailed instructions in the letter. A typical chain letter includes names and addresses of several individuals whom you may or may not know. You are instructed to send a certain amount of money--usually $5--to the person at the top of the list, and then eliminate that name and add yours to the bottom. You are then instructed to mail copies of the letter to a few more individuals who will hopefully repeat the entire process.

    The letter promises that if they follow the same procedure, your name will gradually move to the top of the list and you'll receive money -- lots of it.

    There's at least one problem with chain letters. They're illegal if they request money or other items of value and promise a substantial return to the participants. Chain letters are a form of gambling, and sending them through the mail (or delivering them in person or by computer, but mailing money to participate) violates Title 18, United States Code, Section 1302, the Postal Lottery Statute. (Chain letters that ask for items of minor value, like picture postcards or recipes, may be mailed, since such items are not things of value within the meaning of the law.)

  • by sjames (1099) on Thursday March 15, 2001 @12:19PM (#362071) Homepage

    So, when you connect to an open webserver (yahoo, /., etc.) is it criminal to connect to it if the admin hasn't granted you specificly to access the computer? No, it isn't. So, why should any other service be different in the eyes of the law?

    For the same reason that it isn't a crime to go into a place of business without knocking if the door's unlocked, but it is a crime to do the same thing at a stranger's house.

    In other words, because web servers are customarily for public access, and smtp relay (as opposed to an endpoint) is not.

  • A life of spam will have you on the lam ; )
  • by Cramer (69040) on Thursday March 15, 2001 @08:04AM (#362081) Homepage
    • If I say "hey, I saw a great deal on computers in the paper," and you go out and buy it, and it turns out to be stolen, and you lose the computer and your money, have I stolen anything from you?
    Not unless you profit from the transaction (i.e. you were involved in the theif, etc.) You simply pointed out "public knowledge".

    • If I buy your house for $250K, and turn around that day and sell it to someone else for $325K, have I stolen anything from you?
    Without any other restrictions on the purcahse, No. You paid the agreed upon price for said house. Once it's yours, you can do anything within legal reason your heart desires.

    • If I fake your IP address and use it to download free mpegs while you are offline, have I stolen anything from you?
    No. This isn't theft; it's impersonation.

    • If I shoulder-surf your password to a mailserver, and don't do anything with it, have I stolen anything from you?
    No.

    • If I encode stolen credit card numbers into a bogus napster file, have I stolen anything from any napster users?
    Excuse me, each is independant of the other. So, unless the list of card numbers is that of napster users, no.

    • Are they receiving stolen propery? Is [this] property theft?
    "Yes." However, that will depend on how the court defines "property" -- numbers are not tangable property.

    • Is intellectual property law insane?
    Yes, it is. However, it has to be. IP has to be protected as much as physical property.

    • Are the answers to any of these questions really as obvious as they appear?
    Yes.
  • But, the bridge is not in a public place. It's on a private server, in a private place. Just because it can be seen from a public place does not make it a public place.

    Given your bridge analogy, does that mean I can use your pool, because it can be seen from a public place? Can I park my car on a private parking lot without paying?

  • >Having said all that, I've noticed that the amount of spam I get from uunet is greatly reduced lately.

    I've seen a slight uptick in the amount of spam from uu.net dialups leased to msn.com (i.e. msn.com customers) coming through msn.com's mailservers.

    Theory: When msn.com didn't have port-25 blocking, msn.com customers using spewnet dialups got reported to abuse@uunet.net. By the time Spewnet forwarded the complaint to the "unnamed reseller" (msn.com), the spammer had gotten a day or two of spam out of the account before MSN shut it down.

    Now that msn.com appears to have (at least partially) implemented such blocking, the only way an MSN spammer can spew from a spewnet dialup is to do it through his own account. Accounts don't live nearly as long, and thus Spewnet looks like a bit less of a spamhaven.

    My "legal deadpool" (my list of spammers whom I believe are next in line criminal charges) still has Alan Ralsky (of Telodgim fame, IIRC now hosting out of Russia after a brief stint in Hong Kong after months of uninterrupted Qwest service) and Ron Millette (the guy most likely behind the "joe-jobs" of the anti-Global Prosperity scam) at the top of the list.

  • > All grass roots effort, and all without any new laws.


    Well, there is the one about keeping the civil courts open on weekends . . . :)


    hawk

  • by NateKid (44775) on Thursday March 15, 2001 @06:17AM (#362089)
    People always act like getting spammed is equivalent to being punched in the face. These are the same people who want to start unions to protect against the Carpal Tunnel syndrome they get from "Coding Sweatshops". Here's a quick fix to all your spam problems. Do not bother opening any mail about:
    1. Investment opportunities in India/Thailand/Mexico
    2. Having hot sex with Nicki or Linda
    3. Finding out your horoscope
    4. College degree in 3 months!
    5. Warning, New Dangerous Virus Causes Nuclear Meltdown (click attachment for more info)!
    How about growing up and realizing that some things barely matter in life. I mean these guys should be in trouble for using an unauthorized email account. And if they really damaged a company's equipment though illegal usage of it, well fine, throw the book at them for that too. But some of the above coments, about how we need to be saved from spam is ridiculous. Most people open spam because they want to get something out of it (sex, etc.). Serves them right that they wind up wasting their "precious time". At least their time is less valuable now since all these "html engineers" are being laid off by the thousands.
  • by Todd Knarr (15451) on Thursday March 15, 2001 @06:37AM (#362090) Homepage

    You miss the point. Sure, I can not open that mail. Problem is, it's already cost my ISP money for bandwidth and disk space to handle the incoming spam, and me money for space to store it in my inbox and bandwidth to download it, before I have the opportunity to not open it. To solve the problem I need to keep the mail from leaving the spammer's system in the first place.

    As for saving me from spam, let me give you the magnitude of the problem: about 50% of my e-mail is spam, after applying filters to it. That's a lot of spam.

  • TV commercials are a similar market to the masses, but at least I can opt-out by not watchng tv.

    Even more important is the fact that TV commercials fund the programming we watch. Either we have commercials to pay for content (US broadcast TV), we pay through the content directly (premium cable channels and countries with a TV tax), or we voluntarily donate money for the content (PBS).

    Spam, on the other hand, has the exact opposite effect. Instead of reducing or eliminating the cost of "entertaining" email, it actually raises the cost across the board, due to higher bandwidth considerations and storage costs.

  • No need to resort to name-calling, man..

    If ISPs don't help you track down the source of spam, then they will quickly find themselves on either MAPS or ORBS.

    Wrong. ISPs are under no obligation to give you any information in order to stay out of the MAPS RBL. All they have to do is deal with spam problems, including killing spammers' accts, killing spamvertised web sites, not provide spam support services, etc. ORBS, as you apparently are unaware of, is an automated system for tracking open relays. ORBS has no information as to whether ISPs are cooperative or not. It doesn't even list ISPs that generate spam, only open relays.

    ISPs aren't required by anyone to help you "track down the source of spam." Their only duty is to deal with spammers' accounts themselves. You even contradict yourself later on when you say "you are advocating a commercial entity supplies you with the names and addresses of it's customers?!! Pleaze". It is a huge invasion of privacy for any ISP to help you track down one of their customers. The problem is theirs to deal with, not yours. Unless there is a court order (I don't think small claims court can issue subpoenas) an ISP SHOULDN'T give you a spammer's name or address.

    I'm real happy for you and your Asian ISP, but I hope you understand that's the exception, not the rule. I have LART'ed a LOT of spam from China, and have never received a personal response or a confirmed kill.

    --

  • So what would happen if I had a very fragile open mail relay? Let's say, a very old Mac, running MacOS 7.x, and some cheezy SMTP server that isn't closed off. A seperate Linux box running packet sniffers, capturing everything to a big hard disk.

    Would it still be possible to catch and prosecute spammers using a setup like this? Would it require that the poor little Mac actually have some other use besides as a spammer trap? Would there have to be any actual damages? What if it crashed the machine (very likely, btw)?

    Opinions?
  • Don't compare it with violent crime, compare it with counterfeit money. Spam has the same effect on electronic communication as coutnerfeit money has on the economy. If we think electronic communication is going to be of real importance, we should fight spam as we fight counterfeit money.

    Violent crimes have different issues, maybe the punishment is too light or too severe (although you can get executed for violent crimes), but that is independent on the length of economic crimes.
  • by mr (88570) on Thursday March 15, 2001 @05:31AM (#362097)
    We do not need laws VS spamming.

    What we need is individuals who:
    1) Announce on the SMTP port that they offer a mail analysis service
    2) All mail comming in is subject to the processing fee.
    (snif, snif, smells like a shrink wrapped EULA)
    3) Send the spammers a bill for $250 for each chunk of spam.
    4) Sell off the un-paid debt, so that somone local can take that debt and "take a spammer to small claims court"
    4a) Have 31 (or 30/29/28) seperate people take the spammer to small claims court...one each day for a month of small claims actions vs the spammer.

    All grass roots effort, and all without any new laws.

    Wouldn't it be worth $100 to harass a spammer back? (local fees for a small claims action here)

  • by infinite9 (319274) on Thursday March 15, 2001 @05:32AM (#362098)
    Tell me again why spamming warrants a longer jail term than some violent crime?
  • by kurisuto (165784) on Thursday March 15, 2001 @05:33AM (#362100) Homepage
    Mostly, we all sit here on /. and complain about spam; but if we'd make an organized effort to write to our representatives to have a law passed to ban spam, we might have a lot better weapon against it. We ought to organize a letter-writing campaign.
  • by Restil (31903)
    Argh....

    My text based linux icq client doesn't have a security and privacy tag. I guess I'm out of luck. :)

    -Restil
  • Maybe I'm not understanding, but I'm not sure how spamming causes such a loss of money? You get spam, you click the delete button, or possibly the block sender button (depending on your email client). Yah, I get pissed off like everyone else, especially when I get a good email account that I like, but this is analogus to getting flyers in the mail, I hate flyers. I grab those flyers and put them in the recycling bin.

    That's only the beginning of the cost. Take the $0.0001 that deleting the spam was worth, and multiply by the famous 90 million emails (from the spam software ads). Now, add in the time abuse@bigfoot spends with the flood of complaints they got because the spammer used a fake bigfoot account in the from field. Add in even more if by bad luck the fake from turned out to be real (Imagine checking your email and finding a thousand angry emails). Add in again for the abuse departments in the faked hops thrown into the headers. Add more for the recipiants' ISPs who got complaints from customers who didn't know who else to complain to.

    I fully agree that SMTP servers should not be open relays. As for tightening up free email services, I don't see how! Anything beyond simply checking that a valid other email address was given would make the service to costly to give away.

  • by Mr_Silver (213637) on Thursday March 15, 2001 @05:35AM (#362106)
    ... there isn't a law regarding spamming. You can only start prosecuting if by the actions of them spamming they do other damage.

    ie. If I spam 10,000 users with get rich quick schemes and no server falls over then what case do people have to bring me to court? Annoyance because of non-solicited email?

    However if I crash two servers and cause a company a big headache and loss of business then they can get me for that and not the sending itself.

    Last time i heard someone was prosecuted it was because what they were trying to get people to do was illegal not because they'd sent out 50 million emails.

    Could be wrong though ...

    --

  • by Lord Ender (156273) on Thursday March 15, 2001 @05:36AM (#362109) Homepage
    Hey that pink goo cloging your inbox is not spam! It is the negative enegery of the entire city channeled into one form. Pretty soon that pink goo is going to form a dome over the museam and Vego the Carpathian is going to try to take over the city!

    Looks like it is time to call the ghostbusters!

  • Fight Spam on the Internet! [abuse.net]

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

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

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


    Full text of the law is available [mcnichol.com]
  • by swinge (176850) on Thursday March 15, 2001 @06:23AM (#362116)
    How about a class action suit against spammers?

    Here's how it would work: I get a spam and it wastes a little of my time and costs me additional money in wasted resources. Maybe it doesn't cost me too much, but together with all the other recipients, the "affected class", it would probably add up. So, to get the lawsuit started, first thing my lawyer will need is the mailing list that the spammers used, and any attendant records of how successful the deliveries were.

    Any lawyers out there? Any way the courts would order the beginning of this sort of discovery process?

  • This is basically the purpose of CAUCE [cauce.org], which has worked with senators and representatives before to draft anti-spam bills. There have already been a few bills, none of which passed. They range from satisfactory to unacceptable.

    There have been bills that effectively legitimize spam, and ones that basically prevent it. HR 95, which is in committee right now, is a very good anti-spam bill.

    --

  • Sorry SuperLad, your comments are (adopts Sean Connory voice) "sheriously flawed":

    ISPs have no legal obligation to help you find a spammer's real name/address. They don't benefit from helping you at all, so why would they cooperate?


    If ISPs don't help you track down the source of spam, then they will quickly find themselves on either MAPS or ORBS.

    I recently helped a huge Asian ISP get to grips with their Spam problem, and they were serious enough to devote significant time and energy to implementing my recommendations. They also listened when I explained how their "standing in the wider internet community" would suffer if they did not demonstrate their willingness to stop the spammers abusing their network bandwith.

    On the other hand, ISPs do not have an obligation to help you find a spammers name and address: that is sensitive info you do not divulge about anyone except in a court of law (in pretty much any country). They do however usually have an obligation to find it themselves, and deal with it (by cutting the spammers account for instance).

    It's like reporting to an abuse@isp account that you have been hacked from one of their IP addresses ... they will not tell you the details of their investigation, just that they are "dealing with it".

    And in a forum that stands up and beats it's chest for personal privacy: you are advocating a commercial entity supplies you with the names and addresses of it's customers?!! Pleaze .....

  • They knew it was wrong, why else would they hack into a open mail relay; why would they hide their identify?

    They did not "hack into" a mail relay. They used the services of a badly-configured machine on the public internet. If they used an automated program to logon on their behalf, then they never even saw the "warning" message you had put in your SMTP server banner .... uhh you did *put* a warning message in your server banner, didn't you?!

  • Having a window open or a door unlocked on your house is not a valid defense for a thief when they break into your house. Do you need to put signs on your window that says, "no thiefs allowed?"

  • It's not that it's hard too see what's spam or not, the problem is to actually have to take the mental time to see through the spam. If I get 50 messages in my inbox, with 30 of them spam, it's going to take me a LOT lot longer to scan through my inbox to find important messages.

    How would you like it if during every conversation you had, some random person jumped in your way, saying "buy viagra! cheap!" and then walked away. Sure, they didn't convince you at all buy viagra, and they probably wasted their time, but it interrupted what YOU were doing, and took a few seconds out of your life. Now, thanks to technology, people can do that 1000000x as rapidly. This is WRONG. It drains mail servers, bandwidth, and people's time in scanning their inbox.

    Now, you won't hear me claiming this is a capital offense. But you're wrong in saying that sending incessant amounts of email, just because it's fairly obvious to be spam, isn't annoying and isn't a total waste of people's time.
  • by CaptainZapp (182233) on Thursday March 15, 2001 @06:56AM (#362126) Homepage
    Nowhere in the constitution nor in the Bill of Rights does it say that you have the right to never be irritated. That is the price of freedom, and one that too many people are trying to legislate away. If we are to have true freedom of speech, you might actually hear something that could in some way be slightly unpleasant, disagreeable, or (horror of horrors) offensive to you.

    Why, of course neither the American - nor any other constitution (yes indeed - there are others) provides a guarantee not to be irritated.

    But probably most constitutions value the right of an individual to be left alone higher then the right of somebody yelling his message, by whatever means available, into my ear.

    I also don't think that the American constitution grants you the freedom to forge e-mail addresses, to abuse third party networks or to crash computers to get your message across.

    Further, you guys (usually) have flat rate network connections. Virtually the entire rest of the world does not. We might pay as much as 5$ an hour for a simple, local telephone connection. This means my bandwith comes at a price.

    If you spam me (or any Asian, African, Australian or European) you are stealing, it costs. Does the American constitution mention a right to steal?

    See, I didn't think so.

    Free speech means you can stand on a park bench and blabber what you want to blabber, it means that you can publish text, image, video, music whatever. It means you have the right to publish, it doesn't however give you the right to force your publication on me. Especialliy not when I'm forced to pay for it.

    You mention filters. Unusable for me. I run my own business and even when my primary e-mail address is spammed 9 times out of 10, I can't filter it. The risk that one legitimate message gets filtered is just too big. Such a filtered message could cost me ten thousands of $ in lost revenue.

    So, to summarize:

    You have the right to blurt your message, regardless how ludicrous

    You have no right to force that message on me.

    And you have especially no right to force your message at societys and my expense, OK?

  • by Bonker (243350) on Thursday March 15, 2001 @05:37AM (#362127)
    Convict: Heh, what're you in here for?

    Spammer: I don't really know! I'm just a business man with a little computer skill trying to make a buck.

    Convict: Damn the man! Always screwin' over us small business men. Why, I'm in here for selling cars!

    Spammer: Really?

    Convict: Well, they weren't *my* cars.

    Spammer: Uhh....

    Convict: Hey nerd boy, You got a pretty mouth. You wanna have sex?

    Spammer: MOMMY!
  • Nowhere in the constitution nor in the Bill of Rights does it say that you have the right to never be irritated.

    If it did, that last posting of yours would have resulted in you being brought up on federal charges.

    Have you ever seen anything in the Constitution that guarantees spammers the right to advertise to me at my expense? Who the **** do you think pays for spam? Every ISP and company that runs a mail server. They pay for the bandwidth to receive spam, the bandwidth that is stolen by spammers that send it, the storage costs to retain it on their mail servers, and the administrative costs associated with handling complaints about it.

    ISPs pass the costs of spam on to their users and the cost is in the millions of dollars. Businesses deal with it in their bottom line. And when the costs hurt them (like the company mentioned in this article) people get smaller raises, other people lose jobs, and others are not hired. All so that some bunch of scumballs can send their e-mail ads at no real cost to themselves.

    Oh, and I probably have a much more sophisticated, active spam filtering system than you do. It gets well over 95% of the spam without preventing legitimate e-mail from getting through. But it still annoys the f*** out of me that I am paying higher ISP fees so that some bunch of low-life losers can try to spam me.

  • It's interesting to note that spamming came in vogue as an attempt to market to the masses. The problem was that it was too easy, too widespread. TV commercials are a similar market to the masses, but at least I can opt-out by not watchng tv. Unfortunately, I can't opt-out of reading email; it's part of my job.

    Today, spamming is getting a whole new look as viral marketing; another glossy name for a chain letter.

    Personally, I'd think we should use spammers to make spam... still tastees like pork, right?

    davemc
  • Convict: Hey nerd boy, You got a pretty mouth. You wanna have sex?

    Argh! That would have been ten times funnier had you only used the much more redneck-y slang...

    "Boy, you got a purty mouth."
  • by www.sorehands.com (142825) on Thursday March 15, 2001 @05:41AM (#362136) Homepage
    I remember making a comment that criminal charges should be pressed against spammers.

    Under the computer tresspass act, it is a criminal offense to use a computer that you are unauthorized to (hacking a mail relay, even if open). It might be a stretch to say that by sending SPAM to your POP3 server, that they had used your computer to retrieve and store SPAM without authorization.

    About them being clueless, it's bull. They knew it was wrong, why else would they hack into a open mail relay; why would they hide their identify?

    It's funny, they claim the SPAM is legal, but they hide their identity.

  • ``the two spammers arrested "appeared convinced that what they were doing wasn't illegal."''

    Of course they'd think that. The clowns who used to send advertisements for toner to your Fax machine used to think they were providing a valuable service as well. It's not their fax machine was being tied up.

    It almost (and I can't put enough emphasis on that word) makes you want to see ISPs begin charging for every email sent. But, of course, there'd be some ridiculous discount for ``bulk mailing'' like the USPO does that would make smamming affordable and sending an email to grandma expensive.



    --

  • I'm assuming this notice would be sent during the SMTP session, which means the spammer would never actually read it, which seems like a pretty solid argument in court.

    Though if both parties were in the US then UCITA might be applicable...

    Also, this wouldn't work for mail sent through open relays (since the open relay sees your SMTP notice

    This is a problem with any third party relay, open or not.
  • by Steve B (42864) on Thursday March 15, 2001 @07:00AM (#362150)
    Nowhere in the constitution nor in the Bill of Rights does it say that you have the right to never be irritated.

    However, there are a fair number of laws that say I have the right never to be robbed, which is what spammers do with their automated postage-due crap.
    /.

  • To me the answers to all of those questions is clear: none of them are stealing. But breaking a window that someone else owns is costing the owner money, and the "breaker" owes him/her for it.
  • by gwizah (236406) on Thursday March 15, 2001 @05:42AM (#362155) Homepage
    SAN DIEGO, California:
    San Diego Superior court appears to be after another party in its spammer court case, this time slashdot [slashdot.org] is being sought for what is known as the "slashdot effect" [everything2.com] after a story posted on their web page pointing at signonsandiego [signonesandiego.com] completely knocked out their servers causing a panic. CmdrTaco was unavailable for comment at press time.
  • by CaptainZapp (182233) on Thursday March 15, 2001 @05:44AM (#362158) Homepage
    This is not a case about spamming, it's a case about computer theft and damage.

    It's nice to see that some jerks may do hard time for that, but it would be even nicer if they are punished becaause of the actual act of spamming.

    Aparently legislators only get involved when business are hurt, but not when we, as individuals have to deal with this pest.

    I fear this is not really a victory for the anti-spam league (although it might send a strong message to spam-wannabes). On a sidenote: Salon [salon.com] ran a story [salon.com] a year ago, in which Janelle Brown actually tried to get rich quick, lose 90 pounds in a week or sign up for the greatest pr0n available TOTALLY FREEEEE!!!

    The ironic thing is, that she had a really hard time actually contacting the seller and purchasing all those goodies...

  • It sounds like you're comparing the meatspace concept of "visible" to the cyberspace concept of "accessible".

    And isn't that accessibility the heart of the issue? This "bridge" is a piece of infrastructure, designed and implemented to facilitate traffic and communication. It is attached at one end to a public-access piece of infrastructure, and it is attached at the other end to a public-access piece of infrastructure. Furthermore, it has not been "closed" to public access. Whose fault is it if the public uses it?

  • How many more non-violent offenders to we need to lock away from society? Is this a socially benificial thing? Bah. You know it isn't spam or no spam.

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