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Spammer Robert Soloway Arrested 383

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

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  • by gbjbaanb ( 229885 ) on Thursday May 31, 2007 @08:03AM (#19335123)
    ..... make him delete all the spam emails he sent out, individually.
    • by aussie_a ( 778472 ) on Thursday May 31, 2007 @08:22AM (#19335319) Journal
      While that might satisfy our need for revenge as individuals, as a society aren't we suppose to seek the rehabilitation of criminals such as Robert Soloway? If so, I doubt very much punishing him in such a manner would rehabilitate him. It would simply urge him not to get caught next time, although it is of course quite impossible for him to do it hence the silly moderation. Although I imagine many people are thinking "Yeah! We should do that! Really make him suffer!" I think we need more behaviour modification specialists (including psychiatrists) over the simple cry for vengence when we make laws against spamming. Otherwise we simply get laws that say a spammer should be put in jail for 65 years rather then laws which actually seek to rehabilitate the spammer.
      • by giorgiofr ( 887762 ) on Thursday May 31, 2007 @08:32AM (#19335423)
        Rehabilitate him, you say. Is he ill? Is he handicapped? Is he being manipulated? No. He made his choices and got caught. Now it's *retribution time*. Yeah, revenge. Criminals commit crimes deliberately, I don't see why we should assume that they are somehow to be "saved", saved by what I ask? Their own decisions? I lead a somewhat free life just like they do, they have always had a choice, they chose to commit crimes, and now they get caught and suddenly it's "think of the criminals" time? No way. Rehabilitation works for people who *care* about social acceptance. This kind of people obviously do not care.
        However I believe that spamming should not be a crime. In the grand scheme of things... robbing someone is much worse.
        • by hotdiggitydawg ( 881316 ) on Thursday May 31, 2007 @08:53AM (#19335683)

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

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

          Maybe his actions sit somewhere between robbery and fraud, but either way they are still most definitely criminal IMHO. Simply spamming (in the literal meaning of the word - "sending unsolicited email") should be a misdemeanor depending entirely on the volume of spam sent, and whether any of the email headers are fraudulent. Bot-farming, however, should be a felony.
          • by tacocat ( 527354 ) <> on Thursday May 31, 2007 @09:33AM (#19336153)

            If I had mod points today I would give them to you...

            spam will never go away, it's a multi billion dollar industry and people actually buy this stuff. So there's a very strong business case to keep it around. Capitalism...

            The process of sending unsolicited email may or may not be something you can criminalize if the sender is accurately representing themselves in the email. However, the process of not removing someone from a mailing list upon their request can be considered harassment. I don't know if harassment is a misdemeanor or a felony. Probably depends on the degree. I'll assume for now it is not a felony.

            But doing this under snake oil pretenses is a criminal intent. You hide your true identify by forge mail headers and trespassing onto other peoples computers.

            The forgery should be treated as just exactly that -- forgery. I think this is considered a felony.

            The invasion of someone elses computer should be treated as breaking and entering or theft. The economic value of the theft should be calculated on the cost of the machine being stolen. This would push most actions out of small claims/misdemeanors into felony court. So this too is a felony.

            So there you have it, based on previously existing law. Spam is legal if accurately represented. Continuing to send Spam is a misdemeanor. Sending spam as a misrepresentation of yourself or through resources you do not have permission to use, is a felony. Is that so hard to work with?

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by acvh ( 120205 )
          well, I don't lose sleep at night worrying about spam. Yes, it's an annoyance. But is it on the level of rape and murder? No.

          shit like this is why we have a huge prison population. there ARE other means of punishing this guy than locking him up for life (which I doubt will happen anyway). sentence him to work on antispam measures, sentence him to be a teacher in an inner city school, make him work it off.
      • I think we need more behaviour modification specialists (including psychiatrists) over the simple cry for vengence when we make laws against spamming.

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

        All you need to be a spammer is a belief that if a buck can

      • by tacocat ( 527354 ) <> on Thursday May 31, 2007 @09:13AM (#19335901)

        Holy Crap you're a bleeding heart pussy!!!

        Rehabilitation works only if there's remorse for a crime. The only thing he is aware of is the $$$ he makes. If he had to delete 20 billion spam then he might start getting a clue of just how much of a pain in the ass he is for doing his business the way he has. I would go further in that he should also be held accountable for the format/install of all those owned machines out there. And on top of that he's probably also responsible for a lot of people buying new computers under the false impression that they need to get a new one because the old one is slow. It's only slow because of his doings.

        I have no interest in rehabilitation unless someone actually shows a sense of regret and remorse for their crimes. And even then there's a question of being real or just playing the therapists.

        I do hope that if he's convicted that they have the sense to toss everything they have at him.

        • by griffjon ( 14945 ) <> on Thursday May 31, 2007 @11:18AM (#19337963) Homepage Journal
          Y'know, I'm all for rehab - but I agree with parent poster, I don't see the point for white-collar financial crimes. You want to rehabilitate the Enron fuckups? Spammers? It's not like they were born in a gang-violence dominated neighborhood with massive social obstacles to overcome and make ends meet and need job training, these are well-educated, well-supported "members" of society who are making money hand over foot at the cost of millions of others. I think a bit of punishment[1] is in order, and then probation - like never being able to touch a computer again. Hell, he can become a computer security consultant to anti-spam companies and make millions again, as long as he stops spamming.

          [1] I predict we'll see a drop off in pen1s 3nlargement!!1! emails after he spends some time in the prison showers...
  • by lib3rtarian ( 1050840 ) on Thursday May 31, 2007 @08:03AM (#19335131)
    I can't decide, what do people think, 65 years is basically a life sentence. Is that excessive?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

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

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

      I predict even on this basis, he'd be picking up the soap for a long time yet.
    • by AltGrendel ( 175092 ) <> on Thursday May 31, 2007 @08:11AM (#19335219) Homepage
      Not really.
      • He will probably appeal.
      • He'll say that the sentence is excessive and get it reduced.
      • There's always time off for good behavior.
      • What would be worse is if he's sentenced to have nothing to do with computers in any way, at all, ever.
    • by UnknowingFool ( 672806 ) on Thursday May 31, 2007 @08:12AM (#19335235)

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

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

        Also those who buy from spammers are encouraging crime.
    • by smooth wombat ( 796938 ) on Thursday May 31, 2007 @08:13AM (#19335251) Journal
      Is that excessive?

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

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

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by aussie_a ( 778472 )
      I apply a very simple test: "What does the average murderer/rapist/pedophile get when convicted?" If the answer is less then the person in question I ask "What's worse, what this person did or what they did?" If murder, rape and pedophilia are worse, then I say either those crimes need to have harsher sentences or this is way too excessive. The trick is, do you decrease what spammers get or increase what murderers, rapists and pedophiles get?
      • Do you decrease what spammers get or increase what murderers, rapists and pedophiles get?

        Simple. You hang the bastards. All of them.
        • While your solution is simpler, is it the right thing to do? Me, I believe in rehabilitation. I don't think we do it very well under the current system, but I do believe it is possible and that we need to get better at doing it.
          • by bberens ( 965711 )
            Rehabilitation is not a deterrent. Public hanging is a deterrent. I would rather deter crime than help people who commit it. I mean hey, it's my money.
            • by jimicus ( 737525 )
              Punishment in general isn't a deterrent. If it was, there would be hardly anyone committing murder in the US states which still have the death penalty.

              It's often thought that the best deterrent is fear of getting caught. Put police officers on the streets rather than behind desks.
            • Public hanging is a deterrent. I would rather deter crime than help people who commit it. I mean hey, it's my money.
              I'm sure your president thanks you for buying into the Captialist ideal so much, comrade.
      • by Solandri ( 704621 ) on Thursday May 31, 2007 @08:29AM (#19335399)

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

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

        • .01? That would take a ton of panhandling.
        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by maxume ( 22995 )
          You also have to be careful that you don't over estimate the damages. I would estimate that spam has damaged me to the extent of about $11 over the last five years. I would be satisfied if any individual responsible for more than $0.25 of that had to do a jumping jack, and any individual responsible for more than $2 of it had to do a somersault. Of course, with a billion of us getting spam, some of those guys are going to end up tired and dizzy.
          • by Intron ( 870560 ) on Thursday May 31, 2007 @09:22AM (#19336013)
            You don't value your own time very highly, then. Personally, I charge $75/hour for consulting. If I spend a 10 minutes per week deleting spam and updating mail filtering software, that's $12 right there.

            Multiply that by 1 million people and you get an idea of the real damages due to this guy.
      • 65 years is what he would get if all convicted on all crimes. Most often those murderers/rapists/pedophile are facing hundreds of years in prison on all counts. The actual sentence is shorter due to statutes and practical considerations.
    • I can't decide, what do people think, 65 years is basically a life sentence. Is that excessive?

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

      • by MollyB ( 162595 ) *
        Ha ha. I'd contribute to the K-Y jelly fund.

        Unable to be rational here... If thoughts could kill, this guy'd be worm-castings long ago. So he gets free room and board, along with a "roommate". I feel no mercy for him, any more than he felt for us.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Opportunist ( 166417 )
        You're so negative. Why not call it a hands-on experience for trying how all that herbal viagra and penis enlargement works.
    • No and yes. No because he did commit a lot of crimes, and yes because sadly, in comparison to a lot of wealthier, better connected white collar criminals he is getting an incredibly harsh sentence. Duke Cunningham's crimes were as bad if not worse, and he only got 8 years and some change.

      Sad the way the justice system works.....
    • Think about all the time he's wasted, in total, with a lot of people.

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

      I suspect if you locked him up for a duration equal to the total time he took from others, 65 years would be lenient in comparison.
    • I can't decide, what do people think, 65 years is basically a life sentence. Is that excessive?

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

      Consider: if 10 million people worldwide spent five minutes of their lives deleting the spams he has mailed, that works out to 95.1 years. An eye for an eye seems only fair.
      • "An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind." - Ghandi
        • "A witty saying proves nothing." -Voltaire
          "A witty saying proves nothing." -Voltaire
          and on and on and on and on....
          • Yes, I'm sure Ghandi was quite wrong when he pointed out the problem with seeking vengence. After all, India and Pakistan did so well by ignoring him.
    • Is that excessive?
      Hmm no. On the contrary, I think that this sentence is incredibly light. If I were the judge, I'd give him one million years.
    • by MathFox ( 686808 )
      65 years is the maximum sentence. While I think that sending people to prison for simply sending out mass-mailings is somewhat excessive, Soloway has committed severer offenses by using botnets and spoofing email headers. It would be fair if he got a year to reconsider his way of life (plus fines to negate his illegal profits).
    • by jrumney ( 197329 )

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

    • Dunno, 250k sounds pocket money. Sadly, he won't receive 65 years either.
    • by mwvdlee ( 775178 )
      See the first post :)

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

      He's getting off easy.
  • Well, it's a start. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by AltGrendel ( 175092 ) <> on Thursday May 31, 2007 @08:04AM (#19335137) Homepage
    Only a couple of... oh, lets say... thousand "Spam Kings" to go.


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

  • by ReidMaynard ( 161608 ) * on Thursday May 31, 2007 @08:05AM (#19335141) Homepage
    Todo List:
    [x] Eliminate SPAM From Internet
    [ ] Bring peace to Middle East
    [ ] Make $1,000,000,000

    That's one less thing for me to do now...
    • by QuantumG ( 50515 ) <> on Thursday May 31, 2007 @08:09AM (#19335199) Homepage Journal
      I can help you with that last one. You see, my uncle died recently and he was really rich, but I'm having some trouble getting the money out of the country..............

    • by guruevi ( 827432 )
      I can help you with the middle one, you see, I was digging around and there was this really large iron shell I found, inside there seems to be a warm, glowing material giving some people around here radiation poisoning. I think you could use it... to bring absolute peace to the Middle East, or you know, make a plot for a really bad movie.
  • If convicted as charged, Soloway will face a minimum sentence of 1 year suspended, plus time served in county lockup, plus 40 hours community service. Or something useless like that.

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

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

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

    • Well, because of the botnet thing...yes, if the prosecutors are any good. Invading other people's computers for nefarious purpose is more serious than just sending spam.
  • ok, that's 1 down. 12,832 to go.
  • More on Soloway.. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Dynamoo ( 527749 ) * on Thursday May 31, 2007 @08:09AM (#19335193) Homepage
    Soloway also has close ties to other arch-spammers Alex Polyakov [] and Leo Kuvayev []. Between those three there is a substantial involvement in fraud, money laundering and even child pornography. It's hard to say who is responsible for what.. but I betcha that the Russians are running scared that Soloway will really start to talk. I've documented this connection a couple of times in the past (see here [] and here [].)

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

    • I betcha that the Russians are running scared that Soloway will really start to talk
      And I bet that as long as they stay in Russia they really don't care except to be a little happier that a major competitor is out of the picture.
    • by grommit ( 97148 )
      Running scared? You don't know the Russian mafia very well do you? I'm betting they're working out how to get one of their hitmen in the same jail cell as Soloway.
    • by swb ( 14022 )
      If there's that much organization involved, why not a RICO prosecution?

      I'm always surprised that they go after these so-called "spam kings" as if they were committing their crimes in a vacuum without the help of other people or other institutions.

      As much as spam seems linked to a much larger world of theft, fraud, money laundering, stock manipulation, and more well-known organized crime I would think that a RICO investigation would be a big help.

      I would also think it would go a long way towards ending the t
  • by wazzzup ( 172351 ) <(astromac) (at) (> on Thursday May 31, 2007 @08:10AM (#19335209)
    Can we then arrest someone at Microsoft who was responsible for making it so easy to create bots? In my opinion, Windows (and thus Microsoft) is an equal partner in the generation of spam we get today.

    I'm kidding about the arrest part but it sure would be nice if Microsoft was called into the spotlight and at least publicly embarrassed for it's key role in spam production. Enough so that even my mom and dad (who think Windows is great) understand the malfeasance done by Windows' pathetic security record.
    • then also call to task the designer of the SMTP protocol as well, for the horrendous security there that allows forged headers to be passed around.

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

      Punitive action based on the abuse of a system should go to the abuser, not those who's systems they abuse, whether you're talking about spammers and Windows and SMTP, or a 5 year old kid who's getting abused by his parents. You don't fault the kid, or the baseball bat he's getting hit with.
    • While I do agree that software manufacturers, as well as the manufacturers of any product, have a responsibility to their customers to correct problems with the products that they sold them, I would like to play devil's advocate a little and come to their defense on certain issues.

      1) While it might be a little late, Microsoft really has stepped up their security practices. Automatic updates, all of the improvements in XP Service Pack 2 including the firewall, security center etc. Can things be better ? Of c
      • But as I said in point #1, at least they are taking steps even if it is too late.

        For all the times I hit the preview button I didn't catch that one. I meant to word it as "even if it is a little late". It is never TOO late to step up security.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 31, 2007 @08:10AM (#19335211)
    and send them to his jail mates.
  • I thought this was going to be about some robot arrested on the subway :(
  • by N3wsByt3 ( 758224 ) on Thursday May 31, 2007 @08:37AM (#19335479) Journal
    *65* years? That seems way over the top. Why can't laws just reflect some reason in the usa?

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

    People should get a grip.

    I'm all for laws against spam and all the rest of it, but hell, 5 years + a considerable fine is more than enough.
    • by JordanL ( 886154 )
      Murders affect several people severely and one person terminally. Depending on a few factors, a single one can get you the death penalty.

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

      65 years is too long? Fuck that. Lock him up and throw away the key.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      I hate that arguement.

      The problem isn't that the punishment for non-murder crimes is too high, it's that all too often murderers get off without a life imprisonment or capital punishment. Especially if they manage to wheel and deal their way down to manslaughter or something similar.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Guppy06 ( 410832 )
      "*65* years? That seems way over the top. Why can't laws just reflect some reason in the usa?"

      "Reason?" What if I told you that his actions single-handedly required an extra 65 man-years to fix? Certainly not far-fetched: that's about 3 minutes for 10 million people, erasing spam, updating filters, installing firewalls, reinstalling the operating system, and that's before we get into the felonies he's charged with, such as wire fraud. And what about the hours worked by his victims to pay for the new sec
  • by newsact ( 1094163 ) on Thursday May 31, 2007 @08:43AM (#19335555)
    Spamhaus Project has a rather long list of Soloway's recorded history. He mocks every attempt to nail him such us the lawsuit from Microsoft _id=ROK5164 [] We will probably do the same again...

    "I've been in business for over 10 years with the best accountants in the world, and lawyers in all 50 states that know how to run my business legally and protect me from all lawsuits that come my way.. not a concern.. I just pay them a few hours of my work and they take care of the entire cases for me..."
  • Get real, people (Score:5, Insightful)

    by djupedal ( 584558 ) on Thursday May 31, 2007 @08:47AM (#19335613)
    Every single person here has been affected by this guy - some more than others, but all negatively. This is not the time to turn the other cheek, because every time you deleted one of his emails, you were doing just that.

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

    It is only fair to take his time away from him until he has no more.
  • by StringBlade ( 557322 ) on Thursday May 31, 2007 @08:48AM (#19335625) Journal

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

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

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

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

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

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by spyrochaete ( 707033 )
      A quarter million bucks is peanuts for this guy. He made his fortune by hijacking people's personal computers and corporate and public email servers. He is responsible for reducing people's trust in computers and telecommunication and is partly responsible for the billions of dollars worth of preventive maintenance and lost productivity in corporations worldwide.

      I agree that 65 years would be overkill, but I'm sure this is the maximum penalty. Then again, it's important to make an example of this guy
  • Proportion (Score:3, Informative)

    by syylk ( 538519 ) on Thursday May 31, 2007 @10:57AM (#19337635) Homepage
    To whoever thinks that 65 years is a bit too much:

    Think about time.

    Think about the time you spend/spent 1) deleting spam, 2) writing rules to filter spam, 3) learning, writing, installing, configuring bayesian apps.

    Add to that the time spent by your POP/IMAP/SMTP/Exchange server to receive spam and forward it to you the one that passed thru the aforementioned filters.

    Think about the total time you spent dealing with spam, in one form or another.

    Then multiply that time for all the people on Earth that face the same problem as you do - from simple users to ISP admins - and have to think and implement solutions - from "ignore and delete" to complex auto-training systems.

    65 years suddenly appear a shard of a split second, compared to the total wasted time.
  • by GaryPatterson ( 852699 ) on Thursday May 31, 2007 @11:06AM (#19337803)
    Bear with me for a bit...

    Every time a spam message gets through my filters, I suffer a brief twinge of irritation. I've been receiving spam in varying amounts since the mid-90s, and I wonder what the cumulative effect of all those little irritants would be.

    I also wonder what the cumulative effect of the millions of people he spammed having those little irritations over the years would be. Spread over millions of people and several years it may not seem so bad, but the cumulative effect is that a wave of minor negativity washes over the planet when people like this guy send out spam. Sure it's not the great symbol odegra in a road system, but it's another thing that brings the general happiness of the planet down a jot.

    Maybe the punishment should factor in the number of people he spammed, as a multiplier. Not one to one, but some multiplier.

    It's probably a terrible idea, but then I'd extend anti-spam legislation to all advertising forms if I could. Billboards jostling for that last square centimetre of space seem just as bad as emails written by the mental giants who think that mis-spelling erectile drugs will make me more likely to buy them.

All science is either physics or stamp collecting. -- Ernest Rutherford