Thursday, July 17, 2008

Getting tough with spam

A judge in Manhattan sentenced a 28 years old man to 30 months in jail for sending spam to more than 1,2 million AOL users and also hiding the source of the messages. The case started in 2005, when the defendant and an accomplice discovered how to circumvent AOL anti-spam filters without showing to the recipients the real origin of the emails. In addition to the custodial sentence, the defendant, Adam Vitale, will have to pay 183,304 dollars to AOL in concept of damages. This sentence follows others, like the ones handed down last year, when Jeffrey Kilbride of Venice, California and James Schaffer of Paradise Valley, Arizona were successfully prosecuted for sending out millions of unsolicited email messages promoting pornographic websites and reaping millions of dollars in the process. Kilbride was sentenced to six years and Schaffer was sentenced to five years and three months. While I don’t believe that law alone will solve the issue of spam, it is clear that in some places the issue is been taken seriously. However, it is important to note that most of the spammers that are prosecuted are accused of a bundle of crimes, like mail fraud, wire fraud, e-mail fraud, aggravated identity theft and money laundering, as well as violation of the CAN-SPAM Act, which is necessary to take into account when thinking about the proportionality of sending somebody to jail for six years due to unwanted commercial emails. Still, while theses judicial actions may grab some headlines, they are unlikely to make a dent in the millions of unwanted emails that circulate across the globe in daily basis…

No comments: