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Four Big ISPs File Six Anti-Spam Suits 382

Posted by timothy
from the woodshed-time dept.
ackthpt writes "Wired is carrying news that Microsoft, America Online, Earthlink and Yahoo are filing suits against spammers under the CANSPAM act. They will 'follow the money' to find the perpetrators and shut them down. Suits currently filed against John Does will have actual names attached once subpoenas get the names of the actual persons. I wish them all the luck, as I clean about 500 pieces of drek a day from my mailboxes." Other readers point to coverage from the BBC and from the Associated Press (here's the AP story as carried by the Boston Globe).
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Four Big ISPs File Six Anti-Spam Suits

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  • by Zone-MR (631588) * <[slashdot] [at] [zone-mr.net]> on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @01:14PM (#8522987) Homepage
    I wonder what effect this will have on the number of spam messages we get daily?

    Six spammers is probably a drop in the desert, and shutting them down won't cause a noticable impact, but at least it's a start.
    • by isn't my name (514234) <slash.threenorth@com> on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @01:15PM (#8523002)
      I wonder what effect this will have on the number of spam messages we get daily?

      I bet it will have an effect, but more than likely the long-term effect will simply be to move even more of the spam off-shore.
      • by notque (636838) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @01:18PM (#8523042) Homepage Journal
        I bet it will have an effect, but more than likely the long-term effect will simply be to move even more of the spam off-shore.

        This has been a trend that I've noticed for awhile. Soon all spam jobs will be moved off-shore, and our Government doesn't do anything to stop this.

        Earthlink has personally been responsible for 3 severance packages I've recieved (3 ISPs, all bought by Earthlink, and my job phased out.)

        Now they want to take away any possibility of me working to create, or to stop spam.

        I'm outraged.
      • by secolactico (519805) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @01:22PM (#8523102) Journal
        I bet it will have an effect, but more than likely the long-term effect will simply be to move even more of the spam off-shore.

        Yes, but will the spam beneficiaries move off shore (like some of the online gambling operators had to)? Unless they are willing to move also, the "follow the money" procedure will get to them.
      • predicted responses to the announcement:

        # "People will take their illegal business offshore, so we may as well not bother having laws"

        # "I filter everything, don't know what you're all complaining about"

        # "Only 6 spammers?"

        # "I use a challenge-response system, and haven't got an email since.."

        Or the usual best

        # "But all spammers must be Korean because the proxies they use are in Korea"
    • Spammers are like roaches. If you squash one, they don't go near that area until it's washed up.

      With some luck, this'll send them into hiding for a while.
    • It'll probably be very effective considering that a few spammers are responsible for most of the SPAM anyway.
    • But then again, if it is like local auto-theft (in this city anyway) where 5 thieves are responsible for over 80% of the auto-related crime, it could make a difference

      These six spammers *may* be responsible for (say) 50% of the spams. It is at least a good 'chunk' to make an impact (if that were the case of course)

      imho
    • We should give them special bright orange oversized eartags to help identify them. After all, this would only help keep track of them.

      Besides, I am sure that plenty of people would volunteer to help out attaching them

      Unless some has a better idea?

    • by ackthpt (218170) * on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @01:23PM (#8523130) Homepage Journal
      I wonder what effect this will have on the number of spam messages we get daily?

      Six spammers is probably a drop in the desert, and shutting them down won't cause a noticable impact, but at least it's a start.

      Do you think it's at least as good as doing nothing? Set some examples, drag some faces before the cameras, tell how their houses on Minnow Pond Drive have been seized, things like that. I've got no sympathy. I do hope they really nail the right people. I wish I could bill Alan Ralsky for all the time I've wasted deleting his deluge.

      • by bezuwork's friend (589226) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @03:42PM (#8524683)
        "I wish I could bill Alan Ralsky for all the time I've wasted deleting his deluge."

        You could try, if you really want to. File a lawsuit, class action if you feel like it. You could use trespass to chattels as one claim - see eBay v. Bidder's Edge [bna.com] for one example (only granting an injunction, but indicating that trespass would likely succeed at trial).

        Maybe you could also try unjust enrichment. This generally requires a showing that the defendant recieved a benefit provided by you and that the defendant was unjustly enriched thereby - i.e. to let the defendant remain enriched without compensating you would be improper under the law. Courts in such cases can decide a contract was formed (a fiction) - called a quasi-contract, or they might use another legal construction, but this allows them to order restitution.

        I'm currently researching unjust enrichment, unfortunately, it seems a difficult cause of action to prove sufficiently. My guess, though, is that with the bad public view of spamming, courts might be willing to go your way.

        • by BobTheLawyer (692026) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @04:37PM (#8525347)
          Trespass to chattels is a definite runner.

          I can't, however, see any way you can make an unjust enrichment claim. It's a requirement for such claims (in all jurisdictions I've come across) that one person is enriched at the expense of another. But the connection between your loss (bandwidth and time) and his profit is just too indirect for you to be able to claim that he is enriched at your expense.

          I'd also be surprised if punitive damages are ever available in a claim for restitution for unjust enrichment - you ordinarily just recover to the extent of your loss and the other party's enrichment.
    • by Albanach (527650) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @01:35PM (#8523265) Homepage
      Spamhaus [spamhaus.org] reckon less than 200 spam outfits make up 90% of spam. So 6% would be a bit more than a drop in the ocean - and if they get caught and face big fines (or jail time) we could see an even bigger impact.
      • jail time--we are a vengeful bunch aren't we? The state(republic?) of Texas murders more people than any other state.(I say murder because all killing is murder. Save the flames for another thread) Is their crime rate any lower than any other state? Of course not. But revenge is popular. We don't care how the other person reacts. But we got our revenge, and we like it! Let's use the jails for truly dangerous people. If we could bring back the practice of shunning, I think we could bring about real results.
    • by Rai (524476) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @01:40PM (#8523322) Homepage
      Lawsuits are too common, but something like driving masonry nails into their kneecaps would get more attention.

      I should have been an inquisitor :)
    • by Otter (3800) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @01:43PM (#8523356) Journal
      I wonder what effect this will have on the number of spam messages we get daily?

      I realize I'm almost alone here in my sentiment, but -- the tide is turning on spam. It's simply making email unusable. Email is too useful and too important to ISPs, software makers and corporate users for them to allow a handful of morons to destroy it. Something has to be done and therefore something _will_ be done.

      I keep saying that here and am always surprised by how confident everyone else is for the spammers. I just don't get you guys -- we're all helpless in the face of big corporations but a bunch of dirtbags flogging V*!*a*g*r*a and Par1s H1lt0n V1d30s! can spit in Bill Gates' face?

  • Good for them (Score:3, Informative)

    by Space cowboy (13680) * on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @01:15PM (#8522993) Journal
    This is really excellent news - according to Spamhaus.org [spamhaus.org], 7 of the top 10 (including the top 2) spammers worldwide are from the USA. Looking at the list of the top 200, I'd say about 80% are from the USA. It needs action within the USA to stop this, and for once I can say I really approve of something AOL, MS and Yahoo are doing [don't know much about Earthlink] - See, I'm not biased at all :-))

    Today I received 1681 emails, 137 of which are non-spam. Now I have good anti-spam filters, and I probably only opened about 300 of those, but that's still a major pain where it hurts. String 'em up, I say, bring back lynching - mob justice for spammers!

    Simon
    • Re:Good for them (Score:4, Informative)

      by silas_moeckel (234313) <silas@dsmi[ ]corp.com ['nc-' in gap]> on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @01:21PM (#8523093) Homepage
      I'm getting a similar volume of email with significantly less spam getting through running spamassasin at 4 with no false positives or whitelisting. What spam filter are you using it dosent sound like good spam filters to me.
    • Re:Good for them (Score:4, Informative)

      by TwistedSquare (650445) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @01:24PM (#8523134) Homepage
      according to Spamhaus.org, 7 of the top 10 (including the top 2) spammers worldwide are from the USA

      Unfortunately from that list 7 of the top 10 spammers alphabetically are from the US, though I don't dispute that the general trend is the majority being from the US

      • Re:Good for them (Score:4, Informative)

        by CaptBubba (696284) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @02:12PM (#8523676)
        Look at the bottom of the page where they keep the stats [spamhaus.org]. All but 2 on the list for Febuary are in the US.

        I get spam from the #10 guy, but unfortunatly he's recently sold my address so now I get spam from some guy in Lativa as well. While the volume hasn't gone up, the content has changed from being viagra sales to being ads for beastiality. Plus the new spams seem to be harder to filter, loaded with many false html tags trying to get them through. Only 4 emails a day or so make it past the mail filters my ISP uses, but I still don't want that shit in my indox.


    • 137 of which are non-spam

      You get 137 legitimate emails a day? How does that leave you with time to do anything other than read your email?

      Reminds me of my brief stint at IBM, circa 1996-1997: I could have spent literally an entire shift doing nothing but reading the utterly inane, purposeless nonsense that the higher-ups foisted on us every day.

      To this day, I contend that, for the vast majority of businesses, email [and instant messaging, and pagers, and beepers, and walkie-talkie/blackberry/802.11xy

      • To this day, I contend that, for the vast majority of businesses, email [and instant messaging, and pagers, and beepers, and walkie-talkie/blackberry/802.11xyz thingamabobs] cause a net decrease in productivity. And I contend that /. causes the rest of it.
    • Now I have good anti-spam filters, and I probably only opened about 300 of those

      Why?
  • by GMontag (42283)
    Well, I hope that they get the actual spammers rather than joe-clueless who's machine was hijacked to spread the spam. Hard to show any intent there, but intent seems to be a victim of the spotlight-seekers much too often.

    No, I have no sympathy for joe-clueless, but they do not deserve what spammers deserve.
    • by nizo (81281) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @01:35PM (#8523273) Homepage Journal
      Well, if I understand this right, they are going to follow the trail to the actual person collecting money, so Jim Bob with his hijacked PC should be safe (until his connection gets unplugged, see earliers Comcast article). I can understand the ISPs being pissed at this, I mean imagine if they didn't have to handle piles of spam all day? It must be fun upgrading your mail servers all the time just to handle the 80% increase in spam.
  • Huh? (Score:5, Funny)

    by MachineShedFred (621896) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @01:15PM (#8523007) Journal
    Microsoft and AOL are evil.
    Spam is evil.

    Microsoft and AOL are fighting spam.

    Microsoft and AOL are fighting evil?

    My brain hurts...
    • Re:Huh? (Score:4, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @01:23PM (#8523118)

      Think of this as a turf war between biker gangs.

      You have the spammers muscling in on AOL and Microsoft's territory, scaring all their customers. And you have Microsoft and AOL retaliating by taking hits out on the opposing gang leaders.

    • Re:Huh? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Cruciform (42896) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @01:23PM (#8523119) Homepage
      It's not so much fighting evil, ask seeking to gain a monopoly on it :)
    • So? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by A nonymous Coward (7548) * on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @01:25PM (#8523139)
      Hitler fought Stalin. Nothing new under the sun.
    • by Misch (158807)
      The enemy of my enemy is not nessecairly my friend.
    • If a wolf eats your enemy doesn't mean that the wolf is your friend.
    • Re:Huh? (Score:3, Informative)

      by CrankyFool (680025)
      AOL is the domain of the clueless user, no doubt, and their marketing is a little annoying, given the plethora of discs they send to everyone, their grandmother, and their dead relatives.

      On the other hand, their spam stance has been pretty solid for a while now. Despite the large number of clueless users on AOL, I can't remember the last time I got spam from them, and they've been remarkably good net denizens in this regard -- they were the first large ISP (to the best of my knowledge) to start using SPF,
    • Re:Huh? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Daniel Dvorkin (106857) * on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @02:01PM (#8523538) Homepage Journal
      God, this joke is getting old.

      Look, people: there are no angels in this business, and everybody knows it. Microsoft is evil, spammers are evil, AOL and Yahoo! are only slightly less evil than the first two; also on the "evil" list are Apple, Sun, IBM, Dell, Oracle, Adobe, and, well, pretty much any company with yearly revenue in excess of $1 million. Every single one of them would dominate the entire business world, crush the competition, and eliminate all innovation that didn't translate directly into greater short-term profits if they could.

      What most of us down here at the bottom of the food chain understand is that it doesn't matter. We support companies -- whether "support" means buying their products or just cheering them on -- not on the basis of their moral purity (because there isn't any) but on the basis of what's most useful to us. If Microsoft spends some portion of its ill-gotten gains on cutting down on the amount of spam I get, that is useful to me, even if everything else they do is not only useless but actively harmful. There's no cognitive dissonance involved.
    • Re:Huh? (Score:3, Funny)

      by fdiskne1 (219834)
      Microsoft and AOL are evil.
      Spam is evil.

      Microsoft and AOL are fighting spam.

      Microsoft and AOL are fighting evil?


      When things like this happen, my thoughts are "Evil vs Evil. I hope the battle does much damage to both sides with the most evil (spam) being destroyed in the process." Hey, you've got to have priorities.
  • Dispose() (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @01:15PM (#8523009)
    Use Mailinator [mailinator.com] and avoid the spam in the first place!
  • Spamdemic map (Score:5, Informative)

    by prostoalex (308614) * on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @01:15PM (#8523011) Homepage Journal
    Several years ago this spamdemic map [kruchesamiznaetekogo.com] was quite popular. It's an attempt to have a poster that would allow you to figure out who's behind all those "get out of debt" messages in your inbox. Some of that is still relevant nowadays.

  • Hope it works (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Elpacoloco (69306) <elpacoloco AT dslextreme DOT com> on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @01:15PM (#8523012) Journal
    Used to be spam tried to tell me something. Now it's so clogged with filter-defeaters that they can't manage to squeeze in a message.

    Hope they recover at least their sysadmin's time.
    • Used to be spam tried to tell me something. Now it's so clogged with filter-defeaters that they can't manage to squeeze in a message.

      Very good point. I haven't really understood a spam message in a while that has gotten through my filters.

      A couple do get through, but I can't get an actual message out of them. Where is the value in doing this?
  • by enrico_suave (179651) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @01:16PM (#8523015) Homepage
    Now this is a witch hunt I could get behind!

    Spammers are my inbox terrorists =(

    e.

  • by RandBlade (749321) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @01:19PM (#8523054)
    Good start, but it doesn't go far enough. Part of the law for Can-Spam they're being prosecuted under is the absence of addresses to get off a mailing list - but who is seriously going to click on a link if they are there? How do we trust them?

    This won't stop until spammers start getting locked up for years and people stop buying off them.
    • This won't stop until spammers start getting locked up for years

      I don't think jail time is warranted for spam offenses, especially several years worth. Why don't we keep jails open for the real criminals. Sizeable and enforceable fines will be more than enough to stop the spam that we can legally stop. The rest of it (from China, etc.) will need another solution.
  • spam (Score:3, Interesting)

    by vinit79 (740464) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @01:19PM (#8523055)
    What about the spam ( all those cd's ) AOL sends me via snail mail ?? Can they sue themeslves for it ??
    Though I do hope the junk Cds dont stop I use them as disposable cup coasters.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    With this law the spam filter writers will have nothing to do! We must save the spam filter writers by imposing a tax on all emails .. spam or non spam!
  • Great. (Score:5, Funny)

    by Gannoc (210256) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @01:21PM (#8523089)

    Now i'm going to never get out of debt long enough to afford that penis enlargement.

  • What is our role? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ParadoxicalPostulate (729766) <saapad@nosPAm.gmail.com> on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @01:22PM (#8523108) Journal
    I'd like to bring up what I think is an interesting point here.

    How does this type of announcement (and others like it) affect our role in this struggle? What can we do to make their efforts more fruitful?

    I know people who in the past took it upon themselves to trace certain spammers and send an email with relevant data to the host mail provider (lets say, Yahoo for instance) in an effort to perhaps provoke some response.

    My question is: does this work? Is it effective? Or will the spammer just as easily switch addresses? If so, was it worth it to give them that kind of trouble or are we simply wasting our time?

    If, after this discussion, we determine that it is a worthy method of helping, how would you go about doing it? What type of advice would you give to people who would like to take action once in a while?

    Obviously I can't take action against every piece of spam that hits my mailbox. However, there are certain, shall we say...habitual offenders. Looking at my hotmail account over these past few years (I use my optonline account for serious mail) its fairly easy to figure out that a large bulk of those emails are coming from a common source.

    Anyway, I'd really appreciate some input - including technical details.
  • by aynrandfan (687181) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @01:22PM (#8523111)
    I can't help but wonder how much legal suits like this will force spammers underground. Making spam illegal and going after spammers won't stop spam as long as there is money to be made off the drones.
    • by Tripster (23407) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @01:28PM (#8523177) Homepage
      Umm, they are pretty much underground now aren't they? Considering the spammers are almost exclusively using the trojaned PC network to relay their crap I would say it is as underground as you can get.

      This "follow the money" routine will work, the spammers need to get paid at some point, and considering most of their income is based on amount of sales from the spam then you just need to have a nice chat with whomever is accepting the loot and sending the products.
    • That't kind of the point of the CANSPAM act. If you're doing it out in the open, you have to abide by the new law as well as your isp's spam policies. If you don't, you can be traced.

      If you're going underground, you're breaking the law, which gives companies the legal right to issue supbeanas to track down who you are that way.

      A lot of people complain about the CANSPAM act saying it makes it legal to send spam. I disagree. While it doesn't make all solicited spam illegal, it does define legal terms

  • 10 years from now (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @01:22PM (#8523112)
    I expect my inbox to be filled with just as much spam and all the lawyers will be slightly richer.
  • Question... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by oldosadmin (759103) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @01:23PM (#8523115) Homepage
    Nice to know that some of my DSL payments are being put to good use...

    Can I, as a web admin, sue a spammer for sending mail to my domain? I'm on shared hosting. (cheap plug: my website is www.oldos.org -- go there. but don't spam me)
  • by LordZardoz (155141) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @01:23PM (#8523125)
    Most slashdotters seem to hate Microsofts army of Lawyers. Or, they hate lawyers in particular. Slashdotters also hate spammers

    Its always entertaining to see the anti-lawyer anti-corporate crowd actually agree with something that a lawyer heavy super corporation does.

    END COMMUNICATION
    • Its always entertaining to see the anti-lawyer anti-corporate crowd actually agree with something that a lawyer heavy super corporation does.

      I'm not anti-lawyer or anti-corporate. I'm just pro-common sense, which means I oppose the actions of "lawyer-heavy super corporations" on a fairly regular basis. However, even "lawyer-heavy super corporations" do the right thing more often than not.

    • Except for some outspoken people that don't know what they're talking about. While people may not like Microsoft, that doesn't mean everything Microsoft does is bad. People and corporate entities are very complex. While you can like something someone does, doesn't mean you like every thing they do. If you hate something someone does, doesn't mean you hate that person or everything they do. To see things otherwise is very simplistic. Unfortunately we have a lot of simple people out there.

      To quote Liv

    • by Sloppy (14984) * on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @02:20PM (#8523777) Homepage Journal
      Most slashdotters seem to hate Microsofts army of Lawyers.
      You might want to look back. Microsoft is hated, but their "army of lawyers" has been pretty low-profile. When was the last time that army really made any significant trouble for the good guys? Sheesh, even Slashdot was able to stand up to them.

      It's the Microsoft lobbyists and salesmen that you have to worry about. Quit thinking of Microsoft as litigious assholes. It's not that I worry about people having ill-will toward MS, but if you think of them as litigious, you're just falling for a feint. That's when you get stabbed in the heart by their real weaponry.

    • by Faw (33935)
      .. that MS is going to use the same methods to find the spammers that the RIAA uses to find those that share MP3s, subpoenas against the ISPs. I know some ISPs fought the RIAA (Verizon comes to mind). Wonder if they will fight MS?
  • They Can Do It! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by trolman (648780) * on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @01:29PM (#8523185) Journal
    Now that the SPAMMERS have moved from overseas to Domestic (USA) machines the lawyers can move in and hit these people hard, in the pocket book. This looks like an industry wide effort with Comcast shutting off the spigot this week. The denied loggings here, from comcast machines, dropped off significantly this past week. UUnet is still the top of the list percent wise. Now that we have them where we want them, here at home, Hit them hard [cato.org].
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @01:30PM (#8523193)
    They are #1 on the SBL! 155+ spam gangs are on UUnet. We need to sue UUnet to get all the spammer money that they have received from he spammers that they host. I keep sending mail to as many email addresses of thiers that i can find. Damn spam supporters.
  • by AcquaCow (56720) * <acquacow&hotmail,com> on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @01:30PM (#8523194) Homepage
    As one of my responsibilities I admin and camp the spam filter at work. We get a few thousand emails a day into a company of 80.

    Much of this spam has had to resort to making their emails unintelligible to try and bypass spam filters.

    Others like Aphroditie Marketing have atleast 2 class C licences with full dns for each address that they send email out from. I've had to firewall off entire class C's to block their emails!

    C'Mon...who is going to read email with a subject line like:
    "Order Meds V@1|um - XA:n:az ; V|@grA & %RND_MED_VIC+0DIN $ .Soma. $ Pnte:r:min LV0J2" anyways?

    At some point of obfuscation it has to just become a giant waste of time to try and send the email out.
  • by Gannoc (210256) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @01:30PM (#8523210)

    This is an biggest outrage. The only thinging that these companies will accomplish is the suppression of the super legitimate business methods for 100% legal legitimate businesses. This is shameful.

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    To stop these posts to slashdot, send your request toHollywood Plaza Rm. 1903, 610 Nathan Road, Mong Kok, Hong Kong
  • Effective? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @01:32PM (#8523219)
    The spammers are partly to blame. Think about it, they are alfter the money. People who aid them (hosting, providing a proxy, or even buying from their advertisements) are also guilty. Companies who host their web pages should also be blacklisted.

    In theory, their customers are also guilty of helping the spammers thrive (just like supporting terrorism economically) and in the future should be tagged in some way. The pill companies (or other cmpanies) who are benefitting from increased sales should also be included.

    Call me antispam fanatic, but I hate wasting time every day figuring out what to delete and what to read. All the wasted time is basically lost productivity (think productivity in the health care field)

    They should go for the death penalty.
  • What about us? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Woogiemonger (628172) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @01:33PM (#8523248)
    These spammers are being sued for damages to the ISPs? Why can't they include their customers in the law suit? We're the ones supporting every dollar they earn, and we suffer plenty because of spammers. The ISPs are footing the bill for the lawsuit, sure, but it'd be nice if we got a coupon or something.
    • Re:What about us? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by PhxBlue (562201) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @01:45PM (#8523370) Homepage Journal

      When was the last time the ISPs hiked up the rates explicitly because of the E-mail traffic they had to filter and handle? Call me old-fashioned, but I'd settle for the lower volume of spam that will result from this action The time I would save is worth more than a 50 coupon.

    • Re:What about us? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mabu (178417)
      I have to assume that they would include and subpoena the records of the businesses the spammers are promoting.. that's a key method to help identify them. If the companies aren't the employers of the spammers themselves already.

      I just hope the criminal authorities also follow the civil case and then nail these people with criminal charges.
  • Excellent News! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by netfall (721323) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @01:38PM (#8523301)
    I have been doing a lot of research on SPAM lately for some of my undergrad work. One of the biggest reasons that SPAM exists is because the spammers actually make money! As reported on Slashdot back in November, I beleive, aproximately 7% of people actually buy things from SPAM messages. Given the extremely low cost to the spammers, this is a GREAT profit margin.
    I will applaud this effort, if they are actually able to accurately trace the people responsible. By suing the spammers responsible, their cost of advertising will increase. Less profit. Less motivation to continue spamming.
    GOOD LUCK to Microsoft, AOL, Earthlink, and Yahoo in this action!
    • Re:Excellent News! (Score:3, Informative)

      by netfall (721323)
      I should point out the article I reference with that 7%... Written by Deborah Fallows, Senior Research Fellow at Pew Internet & American Life project. "SPAM: How it is Hurting Email and Degrading Life on the Internet". Available here [pewinternet.org].
      Another point is that the 7% statistic may be skewed, because some of the people surveyed didn't consider all mail to be SPAM (ie, they requested the special offers / catalogs / etc by email)
  • Wake me up (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mabu (178417) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @01:43PM (#8523351)
    when these spammers face criminal charges.... anything less won't make much of a difference. Most of these spammers don't have any money and have probably declared bankruptcy in the past so it'll be no big deal to do so again IF they're even identified, much less lose in court.

    What we need is Federal-pound-me-in-the-ass prison time for spammers. AOL, Microsoft and others should lobby the government to start prosecuting these spammers. You can follow any one of them and find that they've exploited and broken into other computer systems.

    These spammers hack AOL accounts, send out viruses and worms, misrepresent themselves, engage in credit card fraud, break into third-party servers and promote fraudulent activity. We have laws against these sorts of things... criminal laws. Why is it that the only action that seems to be taken is civil?
  • by Patik (584959) * <cpatik.gmail@com> on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @01:45PM (#8523377) Homepage Journal
    Click here [myway.com].

    MyWay.com [myway.com] carries all AP and Reuters articles with no banners, popups, or any kind of registration. Just a couple inobtrusive Google-provided text ads at the bottom. They also have reg-free referal links to NY Times, USA Today, CBS, FOX, and MSNBC stories.

  • Following the Money (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    I think a lot of people are missing the point of what the ISPs are doing.

    Spammers have to be earning a decent amount of money from all those people that DO actually open the spam and buy into those products. Otherwise no one would go to the trouble of cataloguing e-mail addresses, setting up messages and methods to defeat the spam filters, and then sending all of those messages out to bazillions of people.

    If you simply follow the money like these ISPs will hopefully be doing. You can punish those using th
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  • by wayne (1579) <wayne@schlitt.net> on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @01:53PM (#8523467) Homepage Journal
    Remeber that the You-Can-Spam act has penalties that are so small that only cost effective for the largest ISPs to can bring claims against spammers. So, only the largest ISPs can really decide which spam gets eliminated. Remember also that you can't bring any claims at all if you are not an ISP.

    There is a HUGE potential market out there for "good" bulk advertising out there, if only all the pr0n and scams can be eliminated. These large ISPs have an "existing business relationship" with all their customers, and maybe arguably with those that send email through their servers. Just think of how much these ISPs could make by sending "good" spam from Ford, Pepsi, Pfizer, or PlayBoy.

  • by rearden (304396) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @02:00PM (#8523525) Homepage

    I think this news opens up a great opportunity for Slashdot readers and Sys Admins in general. This would be a great time to be able to put questions to them such as:

    1. What are you doing to track down spammes.
    2. What can we do to assist? Is there some type of site, or address we can send information to assist in tracking down offenders.

    Lets get an interview.
    Just my thoughts.

  • Chuckle (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jratcliffe (208809) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @02:53PM (#8524119)
    It's amuses the hell out of me that when the RIAA uses John Doe lawsuits followed by subpoenas to fill in names for the John Does, it's abusive and horrible, but when the _exact same tactic_ is used to fight spammers, it gets a laudatory response?

Recent research has tended to show that the Abominable No-Man is being replaced by the Prohibitive Procrastinator. -- C.N. Parkinson

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