Good news today for Internet users.
[quote]Jury Finds 2 Guilty of Felony Spam
Two North Carolina residents yesterday became the first people in the nation to be convicted on felony spamming charges after a Loudoun County jury found that they flooded tens of thousands of America Online e-mail accounts with unsolicited e-mail, prosecutors said.
Jeremy Jaynes, 30, and his sister Jessica DeGroot, 28, both of the Raleigh area, were found guilty of three felony charges each for using phony Internet addresses to send large volumes of e-mail ads through an AOL server in Loudoun.
The jury recommended that Jaynes spend nine years in prison and that DeGroot pay $7,500 in fines for violating Virginia’s anti-spam law. A third defendant, Richard Rutkowski, 30, also of the Raleigh area, was acquitted of three felony counts. . .
During five days of testimony, prosecutors argued that the defendants used fake Internet addresses to send more than 10,000 spam e-mails to AOL subscribers on three days in July 2003 – a volume that made the crime a felony. The ads, they said, pitched low-priced stock pickers, a software product and an offer to work from home as a “FedEx refund processor.”
Prosecutors said investigators who searched Jaynes’s home found computer disks containing millions of AOL e-mail addresses and computer equipment that had been used to attempt to send more than 50,000 e-mails to AOL subscribers. . .
When he was charged last December, Jaynes – under the name Gaven Stubberfield – was No. 8 on a list of the world’s top 10 spammers, according to Spamhaus.org, an anti-spam tracking organization that published the list.[/quote]
washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/ar … 4Nov3.html
Interestingly, the case was brought under Virginia state law, NOT the weak new federal law, the (YOU) CAN-SPAM Act, which is good news, as one of the main criticisms of CAN-SPAM, before it was enacted, was that it would supersede stronger state laws and weaken anti-spam legislation. Nor surprisingly, this case was brought in Virginia, because the victim was AOL and they have initiated numerous successful spam lawsuits in Virginia.
So the question is, will more cases like this make a difference? Of course the problems with spam lawsuits are that it’s so incredibly difficult and expensive to trace the source of the spam, identify the sender and gather the necessary evidence; much of the operations occur in foreign countries, often several countries involved in a single case; and if the US seriously cracks down on spammers, people say they will move their operations offshore completely.
But, according to Spamhaus, 90% of spam is sent from 200 spammers living in Florida (or something like that). Spamhaus lists their names and info publicly and the FBI has supposedly been looking into the matter extensively. So what happens if those 200 are prosecuted and receive 9 year sentences? Will that serve as an effective deterrent to prevent other slime from taking their places? I realize spamming is very lucrative, but 9 years is a serious penalty. What do you think?