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The Courts Spam

Prison Terms For Spammer Ralsky, Scientology DoS Attacker 328

Posted by timothy
from the at-least-ralksy's-is-longer dept.
tsu doh nimh writes "Alan Ralsky, the 64-year-old dubbed the 'Godfather of Spam,' was sentenced to 51 months in prison on Monday, the Washington Post's Security Fix blog reports. According to anti-spam group Spamhaus.org, Ralsky has been spamming since at least 1997, using dozens of aliases and tens of thousands of 'zombies' or hacked PCs to relay junk e-mail. Also sentenced — to 40 months in jail — was Ralsky's 48-year-old son-in-law, Scott K. Bradley, and two other men named last year in a 41-count indictment for wire fraud, mail fraud, money laundering and violations of the CAN-SPAM Act." And eldavojohn writes "19-year-old Dmitriy Guzner, Anonymous member and Scientology DDoS attacker, received one year and one day in jail for his admitted crime. His sentence could have been a maximum ten years. According to the Church of Scientology, Anonymous has harassed and attacked them with '8,139 threatening phone calls, 3.6 million e-mails, 141 million hits on its website, ten acts of vandalism against its property, 22 bomb threats, and eight death threats against Church leaders.'"
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Prison Terms For Spammer Ralsky, Scientology DoS Attacker

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  • by loftwyr (36717) on Tuesday November 24, 2009 @01:03PM (#30215584)

    Since when is visiting a website vandalism? This is terrifying! /. could have me arrested for almost 10 years of visiting!

  • by ThorofAsgard (1644263) on Tuesday November 24, 2009 @01:07PM (#30215644)
    It wasn't just one man, it was the entire group 'Anonymous'. However I find it funny that Scientology has such specific figures, especially on the phone calls.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 24, 2009 @01:11PM (#30215706)

    ...it's a tax evasion scheme.

  • by czarangelus (805501) <iapetus&gmail,com> on Tuesday November 24, 2009 @01:12PM (#30215724)
    do you really want the government deciding which is which?
  • by thisnamestoolong (1584383) on Tuesday November 24, 2009 @01:17PM (#30215776)
    Unfortunately someone has to -- if we can't control the flow of noise a bit the Internet will be totally unusable.
  • by brkello (642429) on Tuesday November 24, 2009 @01:20PM (#30215804)
    But Scientology is just pure evil. I can't help but sympathize even if I can't condone. I have mixed feelings though...no one should have their lives threatened...but another part of me thinks Scientologists kind of deserve it because of the suffering they cause. Very confusing. It would all be easier if people didn't like and exploit each other. Too bad that will never happen in my life time.
  • by czarangelus (805501) <iapetus&gmail,com> on Tuesday November 24, 2009 @01:23PM (#30215836)
    Brilliant! You have just created a mechanism by which the government can declare all dissent from its policies "noise" and thus be blocked.

    Back in the USSR, they used to respond with dissent by calling it the result of mental illness. After all, the dictatorship of the proletariat always had the best interests of the common folk at heart. If you disagreed with its policies, it must be because you are a poor suffering victim of some kind of anti-social personality disorder.
  • by jellomizer (103300) on Tuesday November 24, 2009 @01:24PM (#30215846)

    When you do it with the attempt to stop the server... That is vandalism. Slashdot having a lot of people who want to read the content is not vandalism it is not having the correct server capacity. As always the difference is intent.

  • scientology (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dan667 (564390) on Tuesday November 24, 2009 @01:26PM (#30215864)
    is not a church.
  • by oldspewey (1303305) on Tuesday November 24, 2009 @01:28PM (#30215898)
    Legislating against spam has nothing to do with free speech whatsoever. It has everything to do with poisoning the commons. If we, as a society, can enact laws saying it is illegal for a mining company to dump 10,000 litres of cyanide into a river, then we can also enact laws saying it is illegal for Alan Ralsky to dump ten billion rolex spams into the world's routing hardware.
  • by NetRanger (5584) on Tuesday November 24, 2009 @01:30PM (#30215942) Homepage

    Personality disorders, like, extreme anti-government paranoia? Or confusing basic regulations for Stalinist policies?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 24, 2009 @01:32PM (#30215974)

    Spamming doesn't ruin lives.

  • by CannonballHead (842625) on Tuesday November 24, 2009 @01:36PM (#30216000)

    Freedom of speech implies that the recipient wants to listen.

    It does? Then it's not freedom of speech, it's freedom to hear.

  • by LOLLinux (1682094) on Tuesday November 24, 2009 @01:36PM (#30216006)

    Brilliant! You have just created a mechanism by which the government can declare all dissent from its policies "noise" and thus be blocked.

    The US Government can do that and already has done so on a number of occasions.

  • by bmajik (96670) <matt@mattevans.org> on Tuesday November 24, 2009 @01:40PM (#30216048) Homepage Journal

    When was the last time you were harassed by a Scientology member?

    When I woke up today and used the internet.

    Scientology was the first organization I am aware of that successfully forced an internet anonymous email service to dig up and disclose information about its clients. All over copyright claims. I am referring to anon.penet.fi, the famous anonymous remailer we all used in the 90s.

    In the early days when nobody cared about what "we" did with the internet, we knew that for every asshole that was up to serious evil, there were 10 smart guys who didn't care what your deal was, but hated assholes and could route around them. There were jackasses, but technology always beats jackasses.

    Then the law came, and all of that got a lot harder.

    Today we have the ability to make "highly" anonymous network connections but we rely on a small group of very VERY dedicated people to make that possible.. [people with the wherewithal to run TOR exit nodes, for instance].

    Those entities [be they CoS or rotten governments] who want to destroy free speech must not be tolerated by us.

    I remember my senior year of college when I got a takedown-letter about hosting DeCSS. And you know what? I folded, because I had a good job lined up that required I _not_ be a felon. Freedom of speech lost a little bit and I helped give it away, because a warm bed and a normal life are more convenient than principles and freedom.

    Our enemies know that, and they attack the weakest of us not to get rid of one or two, but because of the chilling effect it has on the rest of us. No one can escape the law forever, and thus the law, which is supposed to protect the freedom of one man from the encroachments of another, is used as their tool for enslaving us to their desires.

    I'm a fallible man and most of us are. That doesn't mean we don't deserve to hate the entites that continue to attack us by perverting the institutions we designed to protect ourselves.

    I congratulate the "moralfags" [as they are called within anonymous] who are fighting back. Sometimes, it comes at a high cost, like with this guy.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 24, 2009 @01:52PM (#30216194)
    it was inevitable that a story about someone the hivemind dislikes has a insensitive joke about prison rape.

    and of course, it's also inevitable that we'll have some nimby-pimpby sanctimonious PC jerkwad stating that isn't funny.
  • by hoggoth (414195) on Tuesday November 24, 2009 @01:56PM (#30216234) Journal

    Just FYI for those who don't have the time or inclination to decipher 'Anonymous' and '/b/'s sarcastic parody insider language: Anonymous is not a "group" in the traditional sense. Nobody "joins" Anonymous. Everybody who feels like doing a prank is a member of Anonymous for the moment they are doing the prank and they are not as soon as the prank is done. Anonymous has no consensus or agreement on their goals or motives. Nobody can request action on behalf of Anonymous ("Anonymous is not your personal army").

    More than anything else "Anonymous" is a term or meme that describes the mob effect that occurs in response to shared outrage or shared giggles. In this way it is not entirely unlike Slashdot. It is ridiculous when someone says 'Slashdot believes this' or 'Slashdot agrees with that'.

    It is grossly unfair for Guzner to get the blame for over 9,000 phone calls and the rest as a "member of Anonymous". Nobody is a member of Anonymous, and everyone is a member of Anonymous.

  • Fighting monsters (Score:2, Insightful)

    by NonSequor (230139) on Tuesday November 24, 2009 @02:04PM (#30216382) Journal

    "Nineteen year old Dmitriy Guzner, Anonymous member and Scientology DDoS attacker, received one year and one day in jail for his admitted crime. His sentence could have been a maximum ten years. According to the Church of Scientology, Anonymous has harassed and attacked them with '8,139 threatening phone calls, 3.6 million e-mails, 141 million hits on its website, ten acts of vandalism against its property, 22 bomb threats, and eight death threats against Church leaders.'"

    He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster.
    --Friedrich Nietzsche

  • by Weaselmancer (533834) on Tuesday November 24, 2009 @02:05PM (#30216400)

    AFAIK CoS isn't kidnapping unwilling people and forcing them to become members, so it's kind of Darwinian in principle.

    No, but as soon as you join they can kidnap you. [wikipedia.org]

  • by windex82 (696915) on Tuesday November 24, 2009 @02:11PM (#30216484) Homepage

    That's cool, I'm going to come knock on your door for the next three years. The knocking is just a bit of a nuisance and since you've done your part and locked me out all is well right?

    Somehow I feel that if I did that I would be looking at a solution that comes from the point of a government gun.

  • by digitig (1056110) on Tuesday November 24, 2009 @02:24PM (#30216608)
    It wasn't the CoS that was on trial. I've been on a jury that felt that the "victim" of a crime should have got time too, but that didn't change our conviction that the accused had committed the crime so we had to return a guilty verdict.
  • by bmajik (96670) <matt@mattevans.org> on Tuesday November 24, 2009 @02:29PM (#30216664) Homepage Journal

    Personality disorders, like, extreme anti-government paranoia? Or confusing basic regulations for Stalinist policies?

    What prevents Stalin the 2nd from happening in the USA? Have we just been lucky to not have anyone that mean be born here? Are Americans just a better judge of character than the Russians?

    I'm not so presumptuous to think that Russia is better at making tyrants than we are, or its people are more predisposed to misjudging politicians.

    The difference between everywhere else and the USA is that we wrote down a bunch of rules that the government wasn't allowed to break. That way, when our stupid citizens elected tyrants, those tyrants never had any wind in their sails and we didn't "vanish" millions of people for essentially arbitrary reasons [brown people notwithstanding]

    The difference is that our government was designed to put the brakes on itself. So when someone proposes that we give the government power or control to do some act that it didn't previously have the power to do, IMO reasonalbe Americans ought to be concerned.

    If we get to the point [assuming you don't think we're there yet] where the political class in this country can do whatever they like, what's to stop them? What prevents Stalin the 2nd from coming to power in the USA? Luck? An educated populace? An insightful press and critical media?

    The difference between here and "not here" is that here, we don't beleive Stalin has the right to do what Stalin does, and our laws say so. Let's not be in a hurry to denigrate those who question the relaxation of limits on government power.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 24, 2009 @02:48PM (#30216918)

    You've been struck dumb by your paranoia. There's a qualitative difference between a knocking on a church's door (accessing a website) and trying to knock down a church's door (DDoS'ing it). No legitimate user, even those employing web crawlers, will generate within orders of magnitude of the traffic as a DDoS attack. Even if a non-malicious user somehow "accidentally" DDoS' a site, that person would still be liable for that negligent behavior.

    Wasn't one of the first computer viruses an experiment to estimate the size of the internet that went wrong?

  • by Suzuran (163234) on Tuesday November 24, 2009 @02:52PM (#30216970)
    If the law refuses to step in and do justice, then it falls to the people to pick up the slack.
    Just because the government wants to play the role of Chamberlain does not mean Hitler should not be opposed.
    Scientology is a patently evil organization and should be opposed by any and all means.
    I do not see Anonymous as heroes, I see them as ordinary people doing what needs to be done.
  • by bmajik (96670) <matt@mattevans.org> on Tuesday November 24, 2009 @03:13PM (#30217204) Homepage Journal

    Correct.

    And because I've never died, I also do not carry life insurance of any kind.
    Because I've never been raped, I don't pay attention to my surroundings or the people nearby.
    Because I've never been hit by another car, I don't wear a seatbelt.

    Of course, everything I said above is false.

    Even though none of those things have happened to me, they've happened to other people who _are like me_. And as a result, I've modified my behavior and in some cases suffered a monetary loss.

    This is what is known as a "chilling effect". A great tragedy befalls a handful of individuals, but all individuals realize it could have just as easily have been them. This causes massive behavioral change on a wide scale.

    This is exactly the pscyhology used by terrorism, infact. The goal of terrorists isn't to kill all people or even certain people -- it's to kill enough people to effect behaviorial change on a large popupation.

    The goal of Scientology [and the RIAA, and other agents of censorship that have the power of the state behind them] is similar. They know they can't get everyone or even most people. But they don't have to -- getting a few people now and then will persuade many others into changing their behavior.

    I haven't done a detailed study, but everytime there is a CoS article on slashdot, a LOT of the comments are posted by Anonymous Coward. Why is that? Why are people unafraid to openly criticize the catholic church -- often with blatantly vulgar remarks, and yet so few are willing to do the same against the CoS?

    Fear. Fear is the difference. If the CoS wants to rule its own members via fear, that is lamentable and a great reason not to associate with the CoS. But the CoS wants to rule non-members and specifically CoS antagonists via Fear as well.

    I don't think it is unreasonable to despise an organization that has already engaged in activities designed to control me via Fear.

  • Re:L. Con Hubbard (Score:2, Insightful)

    by endymion.nz (1093595) on Tuesday November 24, 2009 @03:18PM (#30217246)

    A direct quote from L Con Hubbard: Attack...never defend. Apparently the only way to keep up a teetering "religion" is to attack.

    That's a direct quote from me as well, talking about RTS games. Not saying L Ron Hubbard wasn't a douche, just that its common sense and can be applied to pretty much anything...

  • Re:scientology (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mcgrew (92797) * on Tuesday November 24, 2009 @04:16PM (#30218010) Homepage Journal

    I was going to say "only on slashdot is a completely ignorant comment be modded +2 insightful", but clicking on the "reply button" I see it was remodded as troll. Good job, mods!

    I don't often go to church, but I've been to very many different denominations of Christian churces and have yet to have any of them attempt to scam me out of money. They pass the collection plate around, but nobody ever coerces or forces or shames anyone into putting money into it. In fact, many if not most churches have "food pantries" where the poor can come for food. You don't have to have a penny in your pocket to go to a real church.

    Your only contact with religion appears to be the TV evangelists. These are NOT Christian churches; they are indeed scams. They're easy to spot, as well.

    • The preacher wears a four thousand dollar suit. I've never been to a real church with a rich preacher. Pat Robertson has converted more Christians to athiesm than all the athiests at slashdot combined.
    • Huge multimillion dollar facility. "The love of money is the root of all evil". Read the actual Bible to see what Jesus has to say about money. If you're rich, read it and weep. If you worship money you're not worshiping God.
    • A political bias, particularly a right-wing political bias in sermons. You rarely see this in a real church.
    • The congregation is all white, or all black, maybe with a token member of another race.
    • The preacher will sell prayer in return for money. The Catholic church's priests have been guilty of this in the past, and is what caused Martin Luther to act and start the Reformation. You can't buy your way into heaven
    • The preacher will condemn some group, such as gays, for their behavior. "Judge not, lest you be judged yourself". I find it hypoctitically ironic that a clean-shaven preacher will bash gays, when the Bible clearly states that making yourself look like a woman is a sin -- and what would be more "making yourself look like a woman" than removing a secondary sexual characteristic? Before you try to remove the mote from your brother's eye, first remove the plank from your own.

    Christianity is about love and eternal life, not death and hatred and hell. Any preacher who rallies for war is a wolf in sheep's clothing. In fact, if you read the bible you'll find that athiests don't go to hell -- it agrees with the athiests that athiests die when they die. Only Christians who willfully rebel against God go to hell; their sins are forgiven. Jesus paid the price for Christians' sins.

  • by Dishevel (1105119) * on Tuesday November 24, 2009 @04:43PM (#30218334)
    When has our government actually ever given us a new right instead of taking them away? When have they taken useless or wrongheaded laws off the books instead of just throwing more of them out there? Maybe a bureaucracy that became useless that the government shut down? No. The government gets bigger and more intrusive. That is not a crazy conspiracy. It is just the facts. That is what the US government dose. It is what all governments do till threatened by their own people.
  • by billcopc (196330) <vrillco@yahoo.com> on Tuesday November 24, 2009 @06:59PM (#30220178) Homepage

    If the DoS here stands for "Denial of Scientology", I'd say it's fair game.

    Look at it this way: most Americans of middle-eastern descent or Muslim faith have been steadily harassed and mistreated over at least the past 8 years, even though less than 1 per 100 MILLION have been identified as known criminals, and the supposed Muslim-originated attack on the WTC resulted in 2976 counted deaths. That's two victims for every million Muslims.

    Scientologists' numbers are unknown, but are estimated to be less than 100,000. And yet, they are known to be responsible for at least two of their own members' deaths, an order of magnitude greater than the so-called "Muslim terrorists". So why the hell are we fighting in the middle east, when Scientology has shown to be 10 times deadlier per-capita ?

    Don't even get me started on catholicism :P

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