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Spam The Courts IT

Facebook Awarded $711 Million In Anti-Spam Case 179

Posted by Soulskill
from the yet-another-spam-king-dethroned dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Facebook is on a never-before-seen legal rampage against high profile internet spammers. Today Facebook was awarded yet another nine-figure settlement, this time for over $700 million. Facebook also has a criminal contempt case on Wallace, which means a high likelihood of prison, a big win for the internet and a milestone in cyber law. 'The record demonstrates that Wallace willfully violated the statutes in question with blatant disregard for the rights of Facebook and the thousands of Facebook users whose accounts were compromised by his conduct,' Jeremy Fogel wrote in his judgment order, which permanently prohibits Wallace from accessing the Facebook Web site or creating a Facebook account, among other restrictions."
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Facebook Awarded $711 Million In Anti-Spam Case

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  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohnNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Friday October 30, 2009 @12:47PM (#29926331) Journal
    What's wrong with this picture?

    2004-10-08 FTC files suit against Wallace to stop infecting computers with spyware that promised to remove the problem for $30.
    2006-03-22 FTC files suit against Wallace--Wallace and co-defendants fined for over $5 million.
    2008-01-26 MySpace awarded $230 million from Wallace in LA.
    2009-10-29 (Yesterday) Facebook awarded $711 million from Wallace.

    If you say seven hundred million and jail time is too much, I say it isn't enough. A warning didn't stop him, five million didn't stop him, two hundred million didn't stop him and I'm sure seven hundred million won't stop him. Throw the book at him and lock him up--this is definition CAN-SPAM Act. And he's a heavy repeat offender, it's not like this guy was blindsided with a surprise ruling. Spam is too kind of a label for this guy, I would hit him for extortion and identity theft on massive scales in addition to CAN-SPAM.

    How he continued to operate with a two hundred million dollar loss a year and a half ago is beyond me. Is he just declaring bankruptcy (like he did back June '09 [insidefacebook.com]), rolling over and doing it again? Or avoiding states where there's a warrant for his arrest or what?
    • by El Jynx (548908) on Friday October 30, 2009 @12:54PM (#29926441)

      Heh. Nice. But the problem is as old as humanity itself: forbidding is one thing, preventing is quite another. I agree, jailtime is the only way to go for a recidivist like that. And he's just abusing international law and such: just because you go bust in one country doesn't mean you can't have $500m tucked away in another. Until treaties are formed which address these problems - and thankfully, tax havens have come under heavy fire of late - this type of crap is just going to continue.

      What I don't get is why a joker like that - who is obviously intelligent - doesn't just find a legal way to get rich. It can't be that hard.

      • by mysidia (191772) on Friday October 30, 2009 @01:06PM (#29926611)

        It can't be that hard.

        Yes, well, it can be that hard. There are lots of intelligent people who aren't and can't be rich, although they want to be.

        More than intelligence is required.

        And apparently, for this guy, he's skilled in getting rich using uncouth methods. It's what he's familiar with, it's what comes easy for him (I suppose)

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by lowrydr310 (830514)
          Eh, someone with his intellect could easily go get a job on Wall Street. Then he could make millions just as unethically, but legally.
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by cetialphav (246516)

            easily go get a job on Wall Street. Then he could make millions just as unethically, but legally.

            It still isn't that easy because of competition. On Wall Street, there are thousands of ruthless, smart people who would do anything to be super rich. Don't be fooled by what you see in the media. Most people on Wall Street are not super rich just like most actors in Hollywood are not super stars. The vast majority are working really hard to give themselves a chance to hit it big. Being super smart and super unethical doesn't make you special on Wall Street. By being a spammer, he didn't have competit

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Rary (566291)

        What I don't get is why a joker like that - who is obviously intelligent - doesn't just find a legal way to get rich. It can't be that hard.

        Maybe he doesn't want to.

        Most people who are really good at doing something got to be that good because they enjoy doing it.

        If he enjoyed doing something that is both profitable and legal, then he'd probably be just as rich with no legal problems. But he doesn't. He enjoys doing exactly what he is doing.

    • by shentino (1139071)

      If there's a warrant for his arrest why don't they nab him and extradite him?

      Surely the US Marshals can't be THAT clueless...

      • by dgatwood (11270)

        These people are a blight on society. They deliberately ignore or abuse the rules of society for their own personal gain, deliberately harm millions of people for their own personal gain, deliberately commit mass fraud, etc. They are hardened sociopaths---not significantly different from mass murderers, child molesters, etc. except in the way and extent to which they choose to harm others. They have no morality, no ethics, and no fear of punishment. Therefore, it is not realistically feasible to rehabil

    • by nametaken (610866) on Friday October 30, 2009 @01:06PM (#29926617)

      You notice that there's a billion dollars in risk here?

      Sounds to me like there is considerable incentive to be an epic scale douchebag of the internet. You'd think he'd be a gajillionaire, right?

      Except...

      "As of October 2003, he is working as a DJ in Las Vegas, making weekly appearances at OPM nightclub (name changed to 'Poetry Nightclub' October 5, 2007) in Caesars Palace Forum Shops on the Las Vegas Strip. Wallace performs under the name DJ MasterWeb.[8]"

      "Wallace filed for bankruptcy in June, 2009. On 2009-10-29, a Northern California District Court Judge awarded Facebook $711M in damages.[12]. Although unlikely to collect due to his bankruptcy, the presiding judge in the case also recommended Criminal Contempt charges against Wallace, who may face jail time as a result." -wiki

      So uh, it's not like he's ridonculously wealthy as a result of being a sleezebag? What gives???

    • by Penguinisto (415985) on Friday October 30, 2009 @01:11PM (#29926691) Journal

      1) They'd have to actually find him first (odds are good that all but the first cases were done with him in absentia).

      2) Good luck collecting.

      3) this may sound a bit trollish, but a thought occurred to me: as of right now, Spamford Wallace likely owes enough money to buy a brand new ballistic missile submarine. No one will ever see so much as a dime from him. So... why did they even bother? It's similar to the RIAA and Jammie Thomas - there comes a point where it becomes less of a statement and more of a parody. Trust me, I have zero sympathy for the son of a bitch, but do we have to make a mockery of our own legal system just to make a point?

    • Unwritten Rule of Acquisition #317-: " If you are a big bully, go beet up on someone who annoys the hell out of everyone else. It's highly profitable in direct Latinum and customer willingness to give you more Latinum."

      Facebook should be appointed Grand Nagus for coming up with such a lucrative idea.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by eh2o (471262)

      Spammer makes profit from facebook users. Facebook (+lawyers) make profit from spammer. Is this a new business model? Why isn't this a class-action lawsuit?

    • by shentino (1139071)

      How many of those judgements has he actually paid?

      Methinks that since the judgements are just at a civil level he isn't exactly in a position to be FORCED to pay up.

      As for bankruptcy, his conduct was willful and malicious...which means any *sane* judge should refuse to discharge such debts.

  • Stupid Name (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Monkeedude1212 (1560403) on Friday October 30, 2009 @12:50PM (#29926381) Journal

    Does anyone else find it ironic that the "Can-Spam Act" is meant to stop people from spamming, specifically from the false and misleading type?

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by pz (113803)

      Does anyone else find it ironic that the "Can-Spam Act" is meant to stop people from spamming, specifically from the false and misleading type?

      I believe the intent was to have the first word in CAN-SPAM be a verb, with the meaning of "can" being, "to throw in the trash."

      • Yeah, but it was written by politicians apparently too proud of themselves for coming up with the acronym to realize that it has another more widely used meaning. Its like when my dad calls his monitor " the computer", The desktop "the cpu", and the Ram "the hard drive". He's sort of just proud he's in the right ballpark and doesn't call the keyboard a typewriter.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by mcgrew (92797) *

        I think it's such a weak law (and probably intentionally so) that it means that you can spam with impunity.

    • Does anyone else find it ironic that the "Can-Spam Act" is meant to stop people from spamming

      Yes, it's ironic, in this context it's meant as "to put it in a can", you know, like the meat Spam.

      And this guy is going to go spend time in a metal box, so it seems fitting.

  • Idea! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gcnaddict (841664) on Friday October 30, 2009 @12:51PM (#29926395)
    Facebook should just use this as their business model.

    I mean hey, if the money ever actually does come in, it's perfectly viable given how often people spam Facebook users.
    • by Aladrin (926209)

      That was my first idea when I heard the numbers! I somehow doubt it'll work out, but it's an interesting thought.

    • wonder if they'll consider this judgement as an asset on their books...

  • Good ol' Spamford (Score:5, Insightful)

    by willith (218835) on Friday October 30, 2009 @12:52PM (#29926417) Homepage

    Sweet merciful crap, is Spamford Wallace [wikipedia.org] still around? We were stabbing voodoo dolls with his picture on them more than ten years ago. His C.V. reads like list of things that are wrong with the Internet. If there were ever someone that the world would be a better place without, it's this guy.

    • We were stabbing voodoo dolls with his picture on them more than ten years ago.

      Obviously, stabbing the voodoo dolls had no effect.

      I would suggest that the Court anoint its forearm with Tabasco, and fist Mr. Wallace.

      . . . and I do mean him, and not the voodoo doll. Then, he might get the message.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by maxume (22995)

        If you aren't willing to carry out the sentence yourself, with your parents watching, you don't really believe in it.

    • by mitgib (1156957)
      First off, I have no love for spammers, but to wish death upon them? Don't you think wishing death upon another human being is a bit extreme for anything other then capitol offenses? I'm sure you are smart enough to tweak your .procmailrc file.
  • SO.. (Score:4, Funny)

    by CrackedButter (646746) on Friday October 30, 2009 @12:52PM (#29926419) Homepage Journal
    Facebook have turned a profit now right?
  • Nice (Score:5, Funny)

    by mosb1000 (710161) <mosb1000@mac.com> on Friday October 30, 2009 @12:53PM (#29926425)
    It's good to see a corporation winning a $700,000,000 against an individual once in a while.
    • by jhfry (829244)

      Whoever modded this as troll is unfair... I think it was kinda witty and should have at least got a Funny or two.

      It is kinda funny to see an individual taken to the cleaners by a corporation and the /. crowd being pleased about it.

  • by RevWaldo (1186281) * on Friday October 30, 2009 @12:56PM (#29926465)
    Now, that's a name I've not heard in a long time. A long time.
    • by corbettw (214229)

      That sounds like an admission to being Wallace, to me.

      • by RevWaldo (1186281) *
        (In the manner of Stewie Griffin:)

        Ah, you suspect me to be this so-called 'Spam King' yet you reveal your e-mail address to me. That's very brave of you...

        BUT FOOLISH! (hits Send.)
    • by Timosch (1212482)
      I thought he had been hung, drawn and quartered. Oh wait, nevermind, that was William Wallace.
  • by JoshuaZ (1134087) on Friday October 30, 2009 @01:01PM (#29926549) Homepage
    There's a certain point where we need to consider the death penalty for this sort of thing. Sure, we normally only use the death penalty for heinous crimes, but from a utilitarian perspective it is quite clear that people like Sanford Wallace are doing far more damage to society. If Wallace is taken out and shot he'll lose about 365*50*24= 438,000 life hours. On the other hand, even a year or two of Wallace's normal behavior causes the rest of society to lose far more time. We should consider a death penalty for serious spammers or possibly a long sentence where he is kept far away from any computer.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by JCSoRocks (1142053)
      Hmm, this is an interesting concept. However, to carry it to its natural extreme.... what then would we do with Microsoft? I've wasted hundreds of hours of my life trying to fix their crap.
      • by JoshuaZ (1134087) on Friday October 30, 2009 @01:21PM (#29926851) Homepage
        You agreed at some point to buy a Microsoft product. You or someone you are helping opted in. And most likely once you've got it working you will actually have saved time overall. There's no claim that a) people opted in to Wallace's crap or b) that anyone will save time overall from what Wallace is doing.
        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          You agreed at some point to buy a Microsoft product. You or someone you are helping opted in. And most likely once you've got it working you will actually have saved time overall.

          I and someone else didn't opt in to Microsoft wasting our time. More importantly, me helping someone else doesn't save me any time overall. Perhaps that someone else bears some of the blame, but I don't think all the blame can be shifted on people who quite clearly are incapable (either intellectually or through gross lack of inf

          • by plague3106 (71849)

            I and someone else didn't opt in to Microsoft wasting our time. More importantly, me helping someone else doesn't save me any time overall. Perhaps that someone else bears some of the blame, but I don't think all the blame can be shifted on people who quite clearly are incapable (either intellectually or through gross lack of information available) of having truly opted in to all that was entailed.

            Oh, were you forced at gun point to install MS software? If not, and you still did, you opted in.

            • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

              Oh, were you forced at gun point to install MS software? If not, and you still did, you opted in.

              Oh, were you forced at gun point to use e-mail? If not, and you still did, you opted in to spam.

              Oh, were you forced at gun point to eat that peanut butter? If not, and you still did, you opted in to contracting Salmonella.

              Oh, were you forced at gun point to cross that street? If not, and you still did, you opted in to being ran over by a car.

              Gosh, that's a silly argument.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by CraftyJack (1031736)

        Hmm, this is an interesting concept. However, to carry it to its natural extreme.... what then would we do with Microsoft?

        What would we do with Slashdot?

    • by AJWM (19027) on Friday October 30, 2009 @01:08PM (#29926649) Homepage

      And an appropriate execution method might be death by ten thousand paper cuts. Or just leave him naked in mosquito country at the start of the season. I mean, it's not like any one cut or bite is that serious....

    • by scubamage (727538)
      We could sell the body to hormel, and they could use it to make a canned meat product!
    • by JamesP (688957)

      Just have a small pebble thrown at him, (and it can be thrown lightly), for every spam he sent...

      • Just have a small pebble thrown at him, (and it can be thrown lightly), for every spam he sent...

        Um... I'd rather not.

        Choose instead: grain of sand, placed as close to his feet as possible.

        Best performed in an open yard, to make space for the new sand dune...

    • >> There's a certain point where we need to consider the death penalty for this sort of thing. Sure, we normally only use the death penalty for heinous crimes, but from a utilitarian perspective it is quite clear that people like Sanford Wallace are doing far more damage to society. If Wallace is taken out and shot he'll lose about 365*50*24= 438,000 life hours.

      so... watch out for your 15 minutes of fame lest people consider you wasting their time?

    • Are you for real? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by damn_registrars (1103043) <damn.registrars@gmail.com> on Friday October 30, 2009 @01:44PM (#29927139) Homepage Journal

      There's a certain point where we need to consider the death penalty for this sort of thing.

      Are you trying to actually accomplish something or are you just trying to make yourself feel better?

      from a utilitarian perspective it is quite clear that people like Sanford Wallace are doing far more damage to society

      OK, we'll go for the latter (much) more so than the former.

      There are multiple reasons that any sensible person can quickly come up with as to why this would be a useless guesture:

      • There are too many spammers to kill them all (or even make a dent in the spam volume by trying)
      • Spammers are stateless, and will just flee to countries where spam laws don't exist - where they can continue to make money through spamming
      • There is too much money in spam to prevent people from going into it just because there is a remote chance of facing criminal charges in one country for it

      And thats just getting started...

      You'd might as well use a voodoo doll, it would be just as effective and far less expensive.

      • by TubeSteak (669689)

        There are too many spammers to kill them all (or even make a dent in the spam volume by trying)

        We offer up bounties on pests like nutria and gophers and there's far more of them than there are spammers.

      • by Urza9814 (883915)

        Add to that list that it's more expensive to kill someone than to give them life in prison. From a utilitarian perspective, unless the person has a high risk of somehow escaping or continuing their crimes from inside prison, the death penalty really makes no sense.

        • by Nimey (114278)

          A round of .30-06 is probably a dollar at the most, and even cheaper if you use surplus ammo.

          I'm quite certain you could find volunteers to do the work, ones who will provide their own firearms.

          • by Urza9814 (883915)

            Yea...if you want to say that anyone you arrest on certain charges is instantly shot without any trial....then sure, you could round up all the Bad Guys and take them all out for about $100. Hell you could probably just post a list somewhere and say 'there will be no charge for murdering the following individuals' and let people take care of it themselves. Then it'd practically be free. But that's not the way society works. In the real world, we have trials. We give people a chance to attempt to disprove th

            • And in the real world, it's been proven many, many times that it is far cheaper to keep someone in prison

              I think the state of Texas claims otherwise.

              Oh, wait, we're talking about the real world. Nevermind.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      To be serious for a moment, why has this jackass not been completely prohibited from using the internet? Judges have already told him that he can no longer use Myspace or Facebook - why not just bite the bullet and tell him that he cannot use the internet at all?

      Considering his track record in junk faxes as well, I'd probably suggest disallowing him use of any communication service whatsoever. If he still wants to "spam," he can do it in person where his "potential customer" can easily respond... preferab

    • I'd say he should be the one to power computers. Make him be the one on the bicycle powering the prison computers. He he stops or goes too slow, let the other prisoners deal with him. I wonder how long he could keep on peddling.

    • by mcgrew (92797) * on Friday October 30, 2009 @03:34PM (#29928547) Homepage Journal

      Bleeding heart conservatives...

      Look, when I die, it's likely to be a horrible ordeal. Have you ever seen anyone in the last stages of Alsheimer's or cancer? You're going to die in a car wreck or other accident, of some terrible disease. Very few are as lucky as my late ex-mother in law, who just stopped in mid sentence like a robot whose battery was yanked out.

      We're all under a sentence of death, and most of us are sentenced to death by torture. And we have no idea when it will happen. You might live to be 110, or you may keel over ten minutes from now.

      The man condemned by other men to die, on the other hand, know exactly when they're going to die. They have a chance to make their peace with any creator they happen to believe in. Then they are painlessly and without muss or fuss humanely put to sleep like a beloved pet.

      I'd rather they die naturally, in prison, when their time comes, letting them think about the horror they have wreaked on people.

      You capital punishment advocates are far too kind.

    • Sure, we normally only use the death penalty for heinous crimes, but from a utilitarian perspective it is quite clear that people like Sanford Wallace are doing far more damage to society. If Wallace is taken out and shot he'll lose about 365*50*24= 438,000 life hours. On the other hand, even a year or two of Wallace's normal behavior causes the rest of society to lose far more time. We should consider a death penalty

      Chairman Mao, is that you?

  • by JBL2 (994604) on Friday October 30, 2009 @01:03PM (#29926567)
    ... the money to the users who suffered damage?
    • by aicrules (819392)
      By continuing to provide a free service??
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by arthurpaliden (939626)
      Become a pay site and give them all free accounts?
    • Just let them know where to send a check for zero dollars and zero cents to, and whom to bill for the postage. There is no reasonable chance of them collecting money from the spammer, so there won't be any money to distribute, either.
    • >> How is Facebook going to distribute... ... the money to the users who suffered damage?

      coupons with no monetary value... and no non-monetary value.

    • by omnichad (1198475)

      They can't do that. They've finally found a business model! Suing people that bother their users.

    • If Facebook users want compensation then they can file a class-action suit, Facebook itself doesn't really have a responsibility to file a class-action suit for it's users, Facebook is able to go after him with bigger guns in criminal court.

  • by Sebastopol (189276) on Friday October 30, 2009 @01:06PM (#29926613) Homepage

    "Facebook's application for a default judgment against Wallace for violating the Can-Spam Act"

    Cool new app!

    I crack myself up.

  • by Gybrwe666 (1007849) on Friday October 30, 2009 @01:17PM (#29926783)

    1) Start Web 2.0 web site utilizing every buzzword you can find
    2) Desparately woo users until you get large enough to matter
    3) Sit down a year or more later to desperately figure out a revenue model
    4) Provide Spammers a way to proliferate
    5) Sue them!
    6) PROFIT$$$$$$$

    Not only that, but this also avoids the usual problem in Slashdot business plans in that there is no question marks in either steps 3 or 4.

    Anyone got a good idea?

    • by Vegeta99 (219501)

      Oh, there's definitely a ????? step in there. If he's facing a criminal contempt charge, he might go to jail. Then he ain't payin' nobody.

      • This isn't Wallace's business model, it's Facebook's (notice steps 4 and 5). Facebook isn't going to jail, they get to put $700 million on their books.

  • Nobody expected it, I guess.
  • Stop the invites (Score:3, Insightful)

    by adosch (1397357) on Friday October 30, 2009 @01:33PM (#29926989)
    Now if only people would stop 'spamming' me with their Facebook invites...
    • by omnichad (1198475)

      If I get one more invite to the "Watch Grass Grow" app, I'll just poke out an eye. Seriously - if it's not fun in real life, what makes people think it's fun because "it's on Facebook"

      And yeah - I did a sanity check. Thankfully, no such app actually exists on Facebook...yet.

      • If I get one more invite to the "Watch Grass Grow" app, I'll just poke out an eye. Seriously - if it's not fun in real life, what makes people think it's fun because "it's on Facebook"

        And yeah - I did a sanity check. Thankfully, no such app actually exists on Facebook...yet.

        Don't worry, Rule 34 has you covered.

        Ooh, you mean you didn't want there to be grass growing porn? Shouldn't have thought about it.

        Oh, or the Verruca Gnome.

  • by damn_registrars (1103043) <damn.registrars@gmail.com> on Friday October 30, 2009 @01:36PM (#29927023) Homepage Journal
    ... waiting to see a collection on that. Most likely he won't pay a dime of that fine. There is no reason to expect otherwise.
  • by clyde_cadiddlehopper (1052112) on Friday October 30, 2009 @01:36PM (#29927029)
    "Wallace and his company Smartbot.net" Sort of like naming your firm "Ruthless Swindlers, Inc."
    • by corbettw (214229)

      Funny, ruthlessswindlers.com is already taken:

      MarkMonitor is the Global Leader in Enterprise Brand Protection.

      Domain Management
      MarkMonitor Brand Protection???????
      AntiFraud Solutions
      Corporate Consulting Services

      Visit MarkMonitor at www.markmonitor.com
      Contact us at 1 800 745 9229
      In Europe, at +44 (0) 20 7840 1300

      The Data in MarkMonitor.com's WHOIS database is provided by MarkMonitor.com
      for information purposes, and to assist persons in obtaining information
      about or related to a domain name registration record

  • by Chapter80 (926879) on Friday October 30, 2009 @01:49PM (#29927197)

    From the summary:

    Facebook also has a criminal contempt case on Wallace

    I thought criminal cases were always "The State v. ___" or another government agency. I have a hard time believing that Facebook has a criminal case against the guy.

    Is there a lawyer in the house (or at least someone who plays lawyer on Slashdot)?

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Try not to read too much into the summary. If there is a criminal contempt case, it likely involved Facebook complaining to the court that Wallace isn't complying with the order, and the court handling the matter as a criminal one, probably due to well, gross contempt of it.

      That's just a bit of speculation though, haven't read the matter enough to certify my explanation.

  • by efalk (935211)

    Wallace is the guy that invented mass email spam. If his ISP had shut him down on day 1, the world might be a different place today. Spam exists because ISPs tolerate it.

    It is almost unheard of for a plaintiff to collect money from a spammer. They're either broke, or they've successfully hidden their money. The $711M judgment is purely symbolic. Facebook knows full well that they'll never collect a dime.

    I agree that jail time is the only solution. Wallace is the recidivist's recidivist.

    • by jcr (53032)

      Wallace is the guy that invented mass email spam.

      No, he's not. He's just a rather large-scale perp. There were others before him.

      -jcr

  • Does this make facebook profitable now?
  • So that was Rupert Murdoch's plan for making money with Facebook - sue spammers. And here I thought he was stupid for buying it thinking he would never make a ton of money from it.

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