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Dozens Charged in Spam Crackdown 228

JohnnyGTO writes "Federal and state law enforcement agencies have quietly arrested or charged dozens of people with crimes related to junk e-mail, identity theft and other online scams in recent weeks, according to several people involved in the actions."
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Dozens Charged in Spam Crackdown

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @09:55AM (#10067470)
    I think they should not so quietly drag the perpetrators 1 foot for every SPAM, Virus and identity theft that they are convicted of. Some of these people would have to be dragged to the moon and back but that is all right; they can scream as loud as they want in space and it will still be quite.
    • by mwood ( 25379 ) on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @10:06AM (#10067579)
      Patience! We have to convict them first. Arrested != proven guilty.

      After the proof, go for it. Don't bother with helmets when you drag them to the moon; the enclosure would restrict their freedom of speech. :-}
    • Re:Quietly Arrested (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Ignorant Aardvark ( 632408 ) <cydeweys@gma[ ]com ['il.' in gap]> on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @11:03AM (#10068224) Homepage Journal
      I totally agree with you. I don't see why these people are getting "quietly arrested". The number of actual scam mail (which is clearly illegal, as opposed to spam mail, which is just annoying) I've been getting recently is alarming. I'm up to getting 1 to 2 a day of the various Citibank/PayPal/eBay scam phishing mail. I don't get caught with them because I very carefully check URLs (and I use Thunderbird and Firefox so I'm not vulnerable to URL masking attacks). But I can imagine the average Joe Schmoe very easily getting taken with these scams. Law enforcement needs to track down these criminals and give them hard time. Heck, it's not even that hard ... all of the phishing scams have to rely on a faked site that is hosted somewhere on the net. Whenever I come across one of these, I check its whois data, and if it's located in the U.S., I send something off to the registrar telling them the domain is being used for something clearly illegal. Usually, within a day, the domain no longer works. Heck, about half of the phishing mail I get these days points to links that are already taken down!
      • by pilgrim23 ( 716938 ) on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @12:07PM (#10069009)
        > I don't see why these people are getting "quietly arrested".
        Is it not obvious? Spammers are all being shipped to a secret government location.
        At these secure sites, Chairs, tables, projectors, and Powerpoint presentations are being prepared even as we speak.
        Clueless bureaucrats are covertly stepping out of their dreary cubicles to attend these highly classified seminars
        Within a year, "W3 R the G0vernment and R H3re 2 hep U" will be flooding the inboxes of the land.
      • RTFA... (Score:3, Informative)

        by sean.peters ( 568334 )
        I don't see why these people are getting "quietly arrested".

        Per TFA, they're being arrested quietly because they (or their computers) are providing information that's being used to build a case against other spammers. The government don't want to alert other suspects.


  • About time these scum got nailed
    Now.. who wants to buy some cheap h3rbal vi.agr@?
    Oh, and I've got a few million I need to temporarily offload into a bank account...
  • Well (Score:3, Informative)

    by Billly Gates ( 198444 ) on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @09:57AM (#10067492) Journal
    I hope the people for get busted too.

    I am so sick of them.
    • What's the deal with the freeipods thing? I always figured it must be a scam, but never really bothered finding out what it was all about
      • Re:Well (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Its a good old fashioned pyramid scheme. I refer enough suckers^H^H^H^H^H^H clients to them, and I get rewarded.
      • Re:Well (Score:3, Informative)

        by Maestro4k ( 707634 )
        • What's the deal with the freeipods thing? I always figured it must be a scam, but never really bothered finding out what it was all about

        It's a marketing thing. You have to sign up and complete a sponsered offer, then get 5 friends to sign up under you as referrals. (They neeed to complete an offer as well.) Then after they verify that everything's completed properly you can order a free iPod or iPod mini. They're apparently legit though, the company running it is Gratis Networks who also does a lo

        • Re:Well (Score:5, Informative)

          by stratjakt ( 596332 ) on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @10:19AM (#10067704) Journal
          "Legit" my ass.

          It's an pyramid scheme, and I'm surprised they're still running, being as such operations are illegal in the US, and most other first world nations. They must be running offshore somewhere.
          • It's not a pyramid scheme as much as it's a "sell stuff to your friends without getting paid much" scheme. For it to be a true pyramid scheme, person X would have to get a royalty for the sales made by each of his five friends... that's not happening here.

            A if this was a true scam scheme, it automatically colapses because at some point down the line the royalties due to all of the people up the chain start to approach 100% of the sale, meaning there's no money left over for an actual product. This is able
            • by Xenographic ( 557057 ) on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @12:24PM (#10069287) Journal
              It's not a pyramid scheme as much as it's a "sell stuff to your friends without getting paid much" scheme.

              Perhaps you should take the quiz they have here:

              Next thing you know, someone will be telling us that those penis enhancement pills are legit, too, just because they advertise on TV...

              What does that one commercial say?
              "We said it on TV, so it must be true!"

              I seem to remember a few very... interesting... statements televised by the Iraqi Information Minister, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton & Richard Nixon, too, and that's off the top of my head.
          • Re:Well (Score:2, Informative)

            by 7x7 ( 665946 )
            Wired News ran this article on it []. Essentially it is legit, but it's not easy.
          • Re:Well (Score:4, Interesting)

            by Billly Gates ( 198444 ) on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @11:50AM (#10068808) Journal
            Well I use Livejournal and get constant spam from users claiming they all won Ipods!

            If you get into the pyramid early on you win them easily. But after everyone and their brother recieves emails and harrasments on livejournal for them it wont work and they get burned.

            What I do not like is to sign someone else up for the offer you give them spamming and identity theft information. Then its up to him/her to accept it?

            Its a massive pyramid scheme and a spam harvesting ring all in one. Yuck.

            Worse I have been flamed for daring to speak up agaisnt it and to tell them that users participating in this are fradualant and no different than the owners of this scame. Unfortunately the few people who did win them make the others envious so they sign up for it and flame me back.


            Its been mentioned as legit on so people assumed there is zero risk.

        • Re:Well (Score:3, Informative)

          by will_die ( 586523 )
          Except thier is no way that the information on even 8 people(9 including your self) is worth that $200. Heck you can get as much info they are asking by setting up people in a mall and offering people a can of soda and a candy bar if they fill in the info.

          So here is the way they actually work.

          They require that you sign up your for all thoses services(AOL for a year, a credit card, a CD club puchase X cds, a DVD club purchase X dvds, and others). They get a kick back each from thoses companies with each
        • Re:Well (Score:5, Informative)

          by Aliencow ( 653119 ) on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @10:32AM (#10067836) Homepage Journal
          as I posted before, I registered a special email address on FreeIpod just for fun. Just this morning, I got 3 spams on it. "Advance in Pay; On the way!" "Validation ticket for extra funds attached" "Payday advance pending. Please inquire within"
        • Re:Well (Score:5, Insightful)

          by gl4ss ( 559668 ) on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @11:02AM (#10068215) Homepage Journal
          they don't encourage spamming but their (semi scam) business model causes normal people to spam, and then invent all kinds of crazy reasoning how their spam isn't spam. that line of theirs encourages things like comment spamming on blogs and so on.

          i don't mind if someone wants to advertise that they're gullible in their sig tho... the whole point is that they want you to get your friends to buy expensive services or products, and actually they want you to fail after you've gained 2-3 friends who've done it. the point is that you could just ask each of your friends for 40-50$ or screw 'em over in arranged poker game(but nobody really gets 5 of his friends to do the stuff so you need to find willing people online).

          funny how people defend the program how it works _BEFORE_ they get their ipods too.
    • Re:Well (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      I agree

      Get a free ipod today []
  • by grunt107 ( 739510 ) on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @09:57AM (#10067494)
    from 'Spam' to 'Hormel Chili' for a better image.
  • Dozens? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Klar ( 522420 ) * <curchin@g m a i> on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @09:58AM (#10067504) Homepage Journal
    Shouldn't it be a lot larger number? I mean, I'm glad that they are trying to stop this stuff, but please. Make a big impact showing how much we hate spammers, and maybe, just maybe, it will scare a bunch and lower our spam in our inboxes.
    • I'm sorry, but any fitting punishments are not legal - I believe it comus under the phrase "Cruel and inhuman punishment", IIRC. But I'm not an American, so I could be wrong.
      • Re:Dozens? (Score:2, Offtopic)

        by rokzy ( 687636 )
        Actual it's cruel and UNUSUAL - big difference.

        but the US doesn't really care about that anyway, after all they still have the death penalty which is certainly unusual in today's world.

        and if I remember correctly there's just the U.S. and one other country who will execute mentally disabled people.
    • Re:Dozens? (Score:2, Interesting)

      by bobbis.u ( 703273 )
      Well, I don't want to speak too soon, but I think they may have got the one with my address!!

      I normally receive 20+ porn and viagra spams a day, but they are all the same style so I have always thought it was only one spammer with my address. [I never posted the address anywhere, I think they just guessed it - it is in the format]

      Anyway, since Friday I haven't had a single message. Or maybe it is just because the spammer is away on vacation....

    • Re:Dozens? (Score:3, Interesting)

      Wasn't there some recent study showing that most spam is generated by a small number of people?
      • Re:Dozens? (Score:2, Funny)

        by rokzy ( 687636 )
        > Wasn't there some recent study showing that most spam is generated by a small number of people?

        er, I think that's part of the definition of SPAM ;-)
  • Hmmm... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Megaweapon ( 25185 ) on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @09:59AM (#10067512) Homepage
    But Mr. Linford of Spamhaus said he thought that the current wave of prosecutions had the potential to at least temporarily diminish the flood of spam.

    Does ANYONE think that this will reduce spam in the near future? I'm still getting flooded, and I'll bet anything that my spam filters won't get any kind of a breather just because of a few arrests.
    • Re:Hmmm... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by king-manic ( 409855 ) on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @10:03AM (#10067556)
      Does ANYONE think that this will reduce spam in the near future? I'm still getting flooded, and I'll bet anything that my spam filters won't get any kind of a breather just because of a few arrests.

      isn't that a great defeatist attitude. Spam is not like an inevitable problem. It can be dealt with. A email system with authentication, A tougher stance from the law, it all helps.
    • Ya, I still have my normal amount this morning.
      Guess they went after the non-big timers?

      I would be happy if they just arrested all people sending out scams or porn. I can deal with spam for the most part, but the scam/porn stuff is what I find really offensive.
    • Re:Hmmm... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by shic ( 309152 )
      Since the beginning of this week I've seen a 75% reduction on spam volume over 3 accounts after a 2% day-by-day increase over the last couple of months. This might be a coincidence - but if those cretins who spam me the same advert several times per hour to the same email address are now facing prosecution... all I can say is that it's about time!
    • The spam kings aren't sending the emails -- infected PC's are. Until that clears up, there won't be much relief any time soon.
    • Re:Hmmm... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Spoing ( 152917 )
      1. Does ANYONE think that this will reduce spam in the near future? I'm still getting flooded, and I'll bet anything that my spam filters won't get any kind of a breather just because of a few arrests.

      My account has dropped from 100-150/day down to ~20/day over the span of the last few months. I can't say why, but I like it. Many many more viral messages spoofed to look like they come from my domain, though. (It's my domain...and I didn't send those messages to myself!)

  • Hmmm.... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by mtrupe ( 156137 )
    Why am I still getting massive amounts of spam in my yahoo, angelfire, and comcast accounts today? I guess they have some more work to do (I haven't even noticed a decrease).
  • by Texodore ( 56174 ) on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @10:00AM (#10067526)
    They may have to keep all the money from the prince of Nigeria, who died 10 years ago in a terrible plane crash, to pay attorney fees. At least they have that.
  • "Quietly?" (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Caradoc ( 15903 ) on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @10:02AM (#10067541) Homepage
    Isn't part of the punishment for the crime supposed to be that it serves as a deterrent for other's who'd do the same thing?

    To quote Dr. Strangelove:

    "Of course, the whole point ... is lost, if you keep it a *secret*! Why didn't you tell the world, eh?"
    • Re:"Quietly?" (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Performer Guy ( 69820 ) on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @10:17AM (#10067685)
      There will be a press conference later today, if you're rounding up crooks in a crackdown you don't announce the fact after the initial arrests because you tip off everyone else. I expect they didn't have enough computer forensic specialists to do the classic coast to coast simultaneous door knock. Computer forensics will play a huge part in catching phishers.

      This is a good thing, phishing & identity theft is evil and the scumbags doing it have assumed that they can get away with brazen theft. It's about time some serious attempt to jail these a*holes was made.
    • " Isn't part of the punishment for the crime supposed to be that it serves as a deterrent for other's who'd do the same thing?"

      They're trying to avoid alerting Jeb Bush to the fact that his campaign contributors are being arrested.

    • Indeed. In law (well, scandinavian law, anyway) punishment serves three purposes. 1) As an individual preventive (he will not do it again - hoping he has learned his lesson) 2) As an general or common preventive (now that they have seen him punished, they will refrain from doing the crime) and 3) "sense of justice" (or rather revenge for the victim of the crime, so that he himself does not seek revenge).

      So they failed on point 2 (at least in the view of a scandinavian european).
    • Re:"Quietly?" (Score:3, Interesting)

      by EinarH ( 583836 )
      You have watched to much TV and read too little criminology.
      New science has pointed out that the effect of for example punishing others is grossly overrated especially by the public. Most experts within criminology agree that the deterrent of very long sentences is non existant in many fields.

      Most people still belive in the popular myth that "if we just punish/sentence enough people to life then they will stop doing those evil things". Well it turns out that the world is a bit more complex. People still

      • Re:"Quietly?" (Score:3, Informative)

        by jfengel ( 409917 )
        Interesting. Because working from the other end of the problem (psychology and game theory) it's been shown that a tit-for-tat strategy (basically, revenge) is by far the most effective way to ensure compliance.

        That demonstrates the effect on individuals, not on outsiders observing the individuals, so perhaps the effect doesn't scale. Perhaps criminals are those people who assume that they won't be caught, or if they are that the sentence isn't so bad compared with the costs of not committing crimes.

  • Yes, but... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gillbates ( 106458 ) on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @10:02AM (#10067544) Homepage Journal

    How many of them had the FBI break down their doors and seize their computers? Or was it more like "Mr Spammer, after you've called your attorney, we'd like you to come down to the station for a few hours..."

    I mean, it's not like they're hackers....

    • Re:Yes, but... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Ignignot ( 782335 ) on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @10:13AM (#10067643) Journal
      I know you were being ironic, but I think it will be missed by most people reading your post.

      So: spammers do fit the popular definition of hackers as people who do bad things to other people's computers without their permission. Even leaving aside how sending spam to someone could be construed to be damaging, they almost certainly use zombie hosts to send emails - this is definitely "evil hacking". So for once I hope the FBI and Secret Service go in and take all their computer stuff, then lock them in a room with a large lonely man named bubba.
      • He wasn't "being ironic", he was being sarcastic.

        Also phishers use spam to net victims, at least some the spamming mentioned is the worst kind, hacked servers forged headers, identity theft and fraud all rolled into one, probably with several hundred counts on more than a few indictments. They're gonna do some serious Federal time, with no discount tickets.

        At least they won't spam again, when they get out they won't recognize the voice activated holographic Linux desktop that everyone will be using.
    • If they used forged headers it is illegal and forensics is vital in prosecution, the computer hardware will have been taken. Moreover, phishers use fraudulent spam to net victims then commit fraud & identity theft with the information they gather, these are very serious crimes. I expect the spam related part of this news is the forged Citibank, ebay style account renewal phishing spam and an integral part of the fraud. All aspects of this announcement fit the profile of a phishing crackdown and that's g
    • Ah, now I get it, sarcasm....
  • by smooth wombat ( 796938 ) on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @10:03AM (#10067547) Journal
    Does this mean that Ashcroft is now our friend or is this the wrong week?
    • by mwood ( 25379 ) on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @10:12AM (#10067636)
      You haven't grasped the essence of the situation.

      Whoever Mr. Ashcroft is in private life, the Attorney General of the United States is not your friend or your enemy; he has a job to do and we expect that he is doing it. One day that will work for you; another day it will work against you. You may agree or disagree with the way that he does it, but it shouldn't be anything personal, on his part or yours.

      Business is not about friends and enemies. Business is about achieving objectives.
      • by Dr. Manhattan ( 29720 ) <> on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @10:44AM (#10067993) Homepage
        Whoever Mr. Ashcroft is in private life... he has a job to do... You may agree or disagree with the way that he does it, but it shouldn't be anything personal, on his part or yours.

        Well, what I know about him personally isn't much, but what there is of it I don't like (e.g. the 'covering up' of the justice statue because of (heaven forfend) a breast).

        The way he has carried out his job, however, I find abhorrent. Pushing the "PATRIOT Act", all by itself, would warrant my condemnation. But looking into how much torture U.S. interrogators could get away with, and refusing to own up to it [], is beneath contempt.

      • You may agree or disagree with the way that he does it, but it shouldn't be anything personal, on his part or yours.

        I can't say that I agree with this assessment. Mr. Ashcroft was appointed to his position -- similar to Michael Powell in the FCC. Why can't an appointed official be a friend or enemy? They certainly make friends and enemies, and Ashcroft has certainly done that.

        Your parent poster didn't make any quips about Ashcroft's persoanal life, but I'm inferring that his comment was with regar

        • by mwood ( 25379 )
          "Hold responsible" also has nothing to do with friends or enemies. Or, it shouldn't.

          I'm trying to disentangle the person from the role. A person can be a friend or an enemy, but when he puts on the role he should put off personal considerations and carry out the role impartially. (You may believe that someone is not doing this, and that's good reason to seek his dismissal.) Likewise we who hire people to fill roles in our government should judge them on their performance in the role, not because we lik
      • You're forgetting just one *tiny* detail...

        Government != Business

        (Except of course in the US of A by the looks of things...)

      • Business is not about friends and enemies. Business is about achieving objectives.

        So, from your reasoning, SCO's litigious antics would be perfectly fine, well and good.

        Fuck that shit.

        Corporations had best adopt a sense of morals and ethics, and quickly lest they find themselves slowly slaughtered. It's happening. Look at SCO's close today. Look at Microsoft. Look at Enron and Worldcom. Same with spammers. Adopt a clean business plan, one that doesn't promote immoral, illegal acts, and you'll do

    • So long as he seeks unbridled power for the government, resists any legal constraints placed upon his power, and uses millenialism to justify his policies, he will never be a friend.

      The only proper place for John Ashcroft is hanging from a tree.

    • by DavidBrown ( 177261 ) on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @10:21AM (#10067722) Journal
      Does this mean that Ashcroft is now our friend or is this the wrong week?

      The enemy of my enemy is my friend - old Arab saying.

      The wonderful think about the world is that it isn't entirely in black and white. You can still hate John Ashcroft while applauding his Justice Department efforts to crack down on spam. You can even be thankful that Bill Gates licensed and "integrated" Minesweeper into Windows for Workgroups 3.11 while still disliking him and most of what you perceive Microsoft stands for.

      John Ashcroft doesn't wear a black hat. He wears a grey one, just like the rest of us, and some of the things he's responsible for are good and should be acknowledged as such.

  • by azav ( 469988 ) on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @10:04AM (#10067560) Homepage Journal
    I'd pay for a ticket - or at least a web cast.

    Sell "execution privs" on a ebay to the highest bidder.

    Use licensed Marshals and bounty hunters to capture them.

    Put a bounty on their heads.

  • From the article:

    Still, Mr. Linford added that spam activity had been increasing overseas and that spammers in other countries, especially Russia, were expected to move quickly to fill any gaps left if spammers in the United States are shut down or scared off.

    Presumably these overseas spammers will often be acting on behalf of, um, 'legitimate business ventures' in the US - I can't really see, for example, the volume of Russian-language-specific spam increasing too much, as they must be running out of R
    • Re:Moving Overseas (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      "It has also deployed online decoys to catch spammers and has purchased products advertised in spam messages so that the financial records can be traced to the ultimate source of the message."

      Why didn't I think of that! Practically speaking the advertised product has to come from within the States. They can move the spam servers to Russia if they want but the actual revenue generating stuff is still where the feds can get at it. Bloody brilliant! Shut down the money part and the spam stops. Or am I be
  • by sczimme ( 603413 ) on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @10:04AM (#10067565)

    You can read more about the organization here [].

    (Disclaimer - I was one of the early members of the organization.)
  • And in other news... (Score:5, Informative)

    by gowen ( 141411 ) <> on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @10:04AM (#10067567) Homepage Journal
    The US is still the biggest source of spam [] on the net, pumping out nearly 3 times as much as its closest competitor.
    • The US is still the biggest source of spam [] on the net, pumping out nearly 3 times as much as its closest competitor.

      They're number one! They're number one! Woo-yay!

      Ahem. ;-)
    • Eh, I think that the US is also the biggest source of computers on the Net, with more than 3 times as many as their closest competitors.
    • This stat comes up all the time. I still haven't seen their methodology. If they used their own mailbox, their may be filtering that they don't know about.

      Also, the US is the orgins of "42 percent of spam", but what does that mean? That 42 percent of an email comes from a spammer in the US, possibly through a 3rd party server? 42 of businesses advertised are US businesses? Or what everyone seems to imply, that 42% come from zombie servers in the US.

      Lets not forget that "42% of all spam" is a bad statistic
      • by gowen ( 141411 )

        This stat comes up all the time. I still haven't seen their methodology

        You can find the methodologht at Sophos's Spam Site []. Its determined by physical location of the last relay (the only thing trustworthy in a spam header), so yes, a large number of those are probably trojaned zombie machines. The rest are the known "pink slip" ISPs in league with Floridian spammers The data set is from a "global network of honeypots". They do no filtering.

        PS : "It's all from trojaned machines" is *not* an acceptable

  • Wow (Score:2, Insightful)

    by e-gold ( 36755 )
    Ya think it might be an election-year in the USA???!
  • About time (Score:5, Interesting)

    by swb ( 14022 ) on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @10:07AM (#10067599)
    It's about time that law enforcement began to see spam for what it is -- not just an annoying bulk mailing operation, but part of a larger racketeering operation that's primarily focused on defrauding people.

    I've long advocated RICO-style investigations (if not actual RICO prosecutions) of the entire world of spam. This doesn't just mean the bulk mailing operations, but the people behind the actual spamvertised businesses and their legitimate-world suppliers.

    Broad-based prosecutions promising long prison time not only for spammers, and spam businesses but for people who knowingly make money off of spammers (banks, ISPs, list vendors, etc) will go a long way towards demotivating people in the legitimate business world from working with spammers/spam businesses.

    Spammers and spam businesses need a certain cooperation and acceptance in the legitimate business world to make money. Without that, they'll be far less effective.
  • by pertinax18 ( 569045 ) on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @10:08AM (#10067607) Homepage

    The submitter missed the most interesting part of the entire article: the fact that this crackdown is financed mainly by spammers (the direct marketing assoc)! They probably are just trying to get rid of the most blatant illegal stuff so they can further their goal of legitamizing spam. Or they could just be cracking down on competitors with the Fed's help.

    Much of the financing for the efforts, known as Operation Slam Spam, comes from the Direct Marketing Association, a trade group that wants to promote what it sees as the legitimate use of e-mail marketing.

    • "Or they could just be cracking down on competitors with the Fed's help."

      It's one way to boost the membership fees overnight. I wonder if my offer of 1.2 million addresses will come with indemnification from now on?

    • by eaolson ( 153849 ) on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @10:28AM (#10067796)
      Much of the financing for the efforts, known as Operation Slam Spam, comes from the Direct Marketing Association, a trade group that wants to promote what it sees as the legitimate use of e-mail marketing.

      Yeah, the spam issue aside, when did law enforcement start getting funded by non-governmental, private organizations? Does this mean they are less likely to investigate and prosecute spam sent by DMA members?

    • It's covered in the rules of spam [] under Rule #1, Sharp's Corollary: Spammers attempt to re-define "spamming" as that which they do not do.

      They're just trying to create a gap between evil nasty spam which they do not do, and their wholesome friendly nu'n'improoved targeted direct marketing. *Sniff-sniff* Still smells the same.

    • Spam is spam, whatever the source, but how much of that crap in your inbox (or stopped by your filter) is from a "legitimate" source? I for one would be immensely happy if the only spam I received was legitimate advertising as opposed to the phishing and fraud which makes up the vast majority of spam -- probably in the neighborhood of 99.9%.

      I say more power to the DMA. They are annoying, but they are not the problem. If they are willing to spend their money helping combat the spammers that are the p
  • by Secrity ( 742221 ) on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @10:12AM (#10067628)
    According to the article, the DMA is funding this "crackdown". They are trying to make it easier for DMA members to get their spam noticed. The DMA got the you CAN Spam law written they way that they wanted it written, now they are using it to kill the competition. This is just one more example of an industry cartel using laws that they bought and paid for to kill anybody who is not a member of the cartel.
  • by Laimbrane ( 665175 ) on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @10:13AM (#10067639)
    Spammers get a lot of blame for all this, and they should - they're evil. But don't forget two important parties in all of this - the advertisers and the fools that actually READ their spam.

    Any company willing to spam others needs to have its practices reexamined. How can the justice department go after spammers and not even blink at the advertising firms that PAY to have it all done? It's like putting the hitman in jail and ignoring the mobster that hired him.

    And let's not forget that sending out mass emails has to be worth it to companies, otherwise one would think they wouldn't do it. There's a reason that you keep getting reminders to have your penis enlarged, and it's not because they found your email address on slashdot. People are buying this crap, and these morons need to be stopped now.

    I'd call for more education on the subject ("How not to click on that popup" or "How to ignore or filter your spam email"), but due to the fact that it is much more gratifying and probably cheaper overall to just throw the emailers into jail, as well as the fact that I'm a nobody, my calls would proabably go unheeded.
  • As others will point out, it will not stop spam completely. Nothing will. We put people in prison for other things and that has not stopped crime.

    I am however happy that the country with the largest amount of spam [] is finaly doing something.
  • by gorbachev ( 512743 ) on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @10:18AM (#10067688) Homepage
    Anyone know which specific spammers are being charged?
  • Canning Spam (Score:2, Informative)

    by jdbolick ( 804666 )
    I suppose criminal prosecution is worth a shot, but I like most everyone else have serious doubts about its effectiveness. This first "wave" has apparently been carefully planned and yet nabbed only "dozens" of perpetrators, and I would imagine most of those were of the "stupid enough to get caught" variety. Now let's guess how many of those dozens will actually go to trial, much less be convicted. But while skepticism is natural and logical, I do think it's worthwhile that the government is at least attemp
  • Spam consequences (Score:4, Informative)

    by Joe 'Nova' ( 98613 ) on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @10:22AM (#10067734) Homepage
    I know it clogs servers, but PHBs are still fear mongering to charge $.01 for each sent email, idea being spammers will have to pay for the right(?) to abuse. I see it as punish the rest for a few, the few who will never care what happens to the innocent, they still make money.
    As a public service, the following domains have been banished, as well as 95% of Megs of spam a week:

    Before I banned them, I got at least 1 meg spam/3 days. That'll kill my inbox, and my provider was kind enough to remove all my old, dust covered emails I was saving so they could provide me this bright, shiny new spam! AGH! Wanted to KILL!

    If servers would route this junk to an universal delete before it got to destination, the spammers would be out of business. There would have to be a distributed system for qualifying what was spam, and just not allowing the system to send it. Attatchments are another peeve of mine, with 30k virus attatched(Would you like to open this?). If I have never sent to the email in question, then I sould never see a Re: coming from them, filter! It would save gigs for provider alone!
    Just my thoughts, and you are entitled to them >:{
  • Thank God (Score:5, Funny)

    by kneecarrot ( 646291 ) on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @10:31AM (#10067820)
    Whew... thank God. My penis was getting so long I was starting to trip over it.
  • by LostCluster ( 625375 ) * on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @10:34AM (#10067855)
    Get [perscription pill] online without seeing your doctor
    An online form is not enough of a relationship for which a doctor can write you a perscription pill. State boards of health are in charge of stopping that.

    Hot stock tip! Buy [stock you never heard of] today!
    Classic pump-and-dump stock scam. The FTC and other stock market regulators are in charge of stopping that.

    Cable TV filter lets you watch digital Pay Per View for free!
    Nice try. What the filter does is block the upbound transmission from a digital cable box so that when a purchase is authorized by the user it can't communicate back to the cable company billing system while still letting the inbound signals through so the box appears to be working fine. There's only one catch, after a couple months your box will it hasn't been able send anything to home base, and completely shut down. Connecting it to the system without the filter will allow all the PPVs to show up on your next bill, and turning your box in for a replacement will allow the cable company to discover what's still in the box's memory. If you claim the box is lost forever, you'll have to pay for losing it. There is no free lunch.

    Get [brand name software] for [insane low price]!
    Pirated software, of course... if there is actually anything behind this offer at all. Try buying from a more trustworthy channel while the Microsoft/Symantec/etc. attack lawyers get ready to pounce on these guys.

    Get Rich Quick!
    Clasic ponzi scheme translated to e-mail... FTC will be arresting the guy at the top long before you get your millions.

    [Your Bank] needs your account information back
    When does a bank ever have an IT system without backing it up? Besides, if the username/password/account data table is lost, they'll build another by creating a new logon, not by asking you for the old one! These e-mails are simple wire fraud phishing.

    Deposed leader [name you never heard of] needs your help to get [large sum of money out] of [someplace]. Please let him borrow your bank account.
    Scam from the start. Even more dangerous because your home country law can't really stop scammers in third world nations.
  • In other news... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by 80N ( 591022 ) on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @10:34AM (#10067862)
    Just as branding your enemy a communist during the 1950s was a sure fire way of ensuring their downfall, the so-called War on Terror has sparked a modern day witch hunt for "terrorist links".

    As the United States Department of Justice attempts to extradite an Australian indicted as head of an international email spamming ring, the battle against spam has been spurred by unsubstantiated claims it funds terrorism.

    The Department of Justice made the claims before a United States congressional hearing earlier this month but could not provide evidence.

    Organised criminal syndicates profit from spam, according to Jack G. Michael, a deputy assistant attorney general in the criminal division at the Department of Justice. He was addressing the US House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Courts, the Direct Marketing Association oversight hearing, titled "International Email Spam Links to Organised Crime and Terrorism".

    Making the link to terrorism Malcolm said, "Organised crime syndicates are frequently engaged in many types of criminal enterprises, including supporting terrorist activities".

    Malcolm could not cite an actual case where spam was linked to terrorism, but said, "it would surprise me greatly if the number were not large".

    The Direct Marketing Association head James Valentine continued the terrorism theme in his written submission to the hearing.

    "September 11 changed the way Americans look at the world. It also changed the way American law enforcement looks at spamming crimes," wrote Valentine - borrowing from a November 2002 article in the Customs Service newsletter US Customs Today.

    The Department of Justice's war on spam was boosted recently by the indictment of 40-year-old Ray Hugh Griffin, of South Wales, as co-leader of the worldwide spamming group SpendToSave.

    The extradition of Griffin - known by the online alias "SanNiBel" - will be sought "in the coming weeks," according to US Attorney Peter J McCarthy.

    Griffin's indictment is the latest action arising from "Operation Mountaineer" - a joint US Customs and Department of Justice investigation which has seen 20 people convicted.

    Operation Mountaineer has seen spammers put behind bars for several years. Similar penalties should apply to college students sending unsolicited messages using chat applications such as Gaim and MSN, Congressman John Carter - a Texas Republican - told the congressional hearing.

    "I think it'd be a good idea to go out and actually bust a couple of these college kids," said Carter.

    "If you want to see college kids duck and run, you let them read the papers and somebody's got a 33-month sentence in the federal penitentiary for sending unsolicited emails."
    • Re:In other news... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Steve B ( 42864 ) on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @11:26AM (#10068511)
      The other likely connection between spam and terrorism isn't mentioned much, but it's glaringly obvious if you think it through.

      Spam is a covert communication channel that is completely immune to traffic analysis on the receiving end (since it's broadcast to so many people, and there's no way of telling if one of them is reading another message steganographically hidden in the p3n!s pill ad). Spam offers the Internet equivalent of a numbers station [] broadcast.

      Maybe the Feds have gotten a clue (in either sense of the phrase), and are anal-probing some spammers (using fraud, cracking, etc as probable cause and leverage) to investigate this possibility.

  • by kahei ( 466208 ) on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @10:43AM (#10067985) Homepage

    Please bear in mind, this is not a victory of honest folk over spammers, but a victory of spammers who are members of the DMA over their competitors. The DMA got a law passed which allows them to keep spamming but can be used to make business harder for non-DMA members. That's good business and I think the DMA have done _very_ well for a lobby with no initial political clout or connections.

    Just don't interpret this as some new ideological initiative. It's simply an investment by the DMA which favors the DMA and hurts their competitors


    • There's a bright side to this. Spam sent in compliance with the CAN-SPAM act is easy to filter. With a legitimate subject line and sender, most spam filters will immediately recognize spam and make it go away.
  • OK, it was a wish...I admit my mind sometimes gets away from me...and I was reaching.

    On a totally unrelated note, does anyone have an alloy baseball bat?

  • by bstone ( 145356 ) on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @11:45AM (#10068736)
    My favorite line from the article:
    "There is such a large number of spammers,'' said Enrique Salem, a senior vice president of Symantec, "that no matter how many you arrest, more people will send spam.''
    Can you see someone explaining:
    "There is such a large number of bank robbers that no matter how many you arrest, more people will rob banks.''
    in an article discussing other types of crimes?

"Been through Hell? Whaddya bring back for me?" -- A. Brilliant