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The Courts Spam

Prison Terms For Spammer Ralsky, Scientology DoS Attacker 328

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 douglips ( 513461 ) on Tuesday November 24, 2009 @01:07PM (#30215654) Homepage Journal

    He took it right in the ass. It was beautiful.

    http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=02/12/06/1554227 [slashdot.org]

  • L. Con Hubbard (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 24, 2009 @01:08PM (#30215662)
    A direct quote from L Con Hubbard:
    Attack...never defend.
    Apparently the only way to keep up a teetering "religion" is to attack.
  • by Rogerborg ( 306625 ) on Tuesday November 24, 2009 @01:11PM (#30215704) Homepage
    Information is signal, not noise.
  • by jim_v2000 ( 818799 ) on Tuesday November 24, 2009 @01:27PM (#30215886)
    I'm pretty sure that 141 million hits qualifies as a DDOS, especially on a site not designed to handle that much traffic. Of course, it depends on the timeframe for those hits, but even over a year, that's 5 hits per second.
  • by trapnest ( 1608791 ) <janusofzeal@gmail.com> on Tuesday November 24, 2009 @01:28PM (#30215910)

    He didn't hire a small army, he was part of a small army.
    http://encyclopediadramatica.com/Chanology [encycloped...matica.com] - NSFW
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chanology [wikipedia.org]

  • Dmitriy Guzner: (Score:5, Informative)

    by circletimessquare ( 444983 ) <circletimessquare&gmail,com> on Tuesday November 24, 2009 @01:30PM (#30215938) Homepage Journal

    secularist martyr

    you don't fight vile "religions" that zombify and enslave the weak with kind words and cupcakes

    this is the way the mafia known as the church of scientology plays:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Snow_White [wikipedia.org]

    turn around is fair play

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 24, 2009 @01:34PM (#30215988)

    .... it's a tax evasion scheme.

    If you had phrased that in the form of a statement backed by references, you might not have been modded flamebait:

    "Didn't France convict the CoS of fraud? ( http://www.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/europe/10/27/france.scientology.fraud/index.html [cnn.com] )"


    "Arnaldo Lerma tells us that, 'when I asked why Scientology was now being called a church, I was told that it was for tax purposes.' ( http://www.lermanet.com/LRonHubbard2.htm [lermanet.com] )"

    Something like that might have gotten the flamebait mods countered by positive ones... even if it (and this post) are likely somewhat off-topic for this particular article.

  • Re:scientology (Score:3, Informative)

    by Sponge Bath ( 413667 ) on Tuesday November 24, 2009 @01:40PM (#30216044)

    All real churches involve pasta and pirates.

  • by McDutchie ( 151611 ) on Tuesday November 24, 2009 @01:42PM (#30216062) Homepage
    It's about consent, not about content. Spam, by definition [spamhaus.org], is unsolicited bulk e-mail. The type of content doesn't enter into it, so any concerns about censorship are misplaced.
  • Re:scientology (Score:5, Informative)

    by Wyatt Earp ( 1029 ) on Tuesday November 24, 2009 @01:42PM (#30216066)

    They are a cult.

    People are put in physically or emotionally distressing situations;
    Their problems are reduced to one simple explanation, which is repeatedly emphasized;
    They receive unconditional love, acceptance, and attention from a charismatic leader;
    They get a new identity based on the group;
    They are subject to entrapment (isolation from friends, relatives, and the mainstream culture) and their access to information is severely controlled.

    From everything I've read about and seen of Scientolgists and Scientology, they do all of those things.

    Contrast that to say...Judaism or Islam, theres a big difference.

  • by maxwell demon ( 590494 ) on Tuesday November 24, 2009 @01:48PM (#30216144) Journal

    It's funny to me that the people who complain about spam the most are also the "information wants to be free" types.

    And if you get caught lying to the tax office about your income, you probably also pull the argument that free speech, as guaranteed by the constitution, also covers lying to the tax office, right?

    Freedom of speech doesn't mean that you may (mis-)use any medium to tell your opinion. It just says that you must have the possibility to do so, and to do so in public. It doesn't say you have the right to fill up private mailboxes with it. I reserve the right to decide what I want to have in my(!) mailbox. If you want to tell the world about how great your replica watches are, or how much you like the Democrats or Republicans, you are invited to do on any public channel. But keep it out of my mailbox. It's my mailbox. It is not public.

  • by Suzuran ( 163234 ) on Tuesday November 24, 2009 @02:07PM (#30216412)
    Spamming didn't murder Lisa McPherson.
  • by Bakkster ( 1529253 ) <Bakkster,man&gmail,com> on Tuesday November 24, 2009 @02:11PM (#30216486)

    However I find it funny that Scientology has such specific figures, especially on the phone calls.

    If you plan to take legal action for harassment, it behooves you to document that all.

  • To Name One (Score:4, Informative)

    by Conchobair ( 1648793 ) on Tuesday November 24, 2009 @02:12PM (#30216498)
    Lisa McPherson [wikipedia.org]
  • Re:A Year and a Day? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Chris Mattern ( 191822 ) on Tuesday November 24, 2009 @02:53PM (#30216986)

    It's part of the US's Common Law background. A prison sentence for a felony is longer than one year; it's one of the things that distinguishes a felony from a misdemeanor.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 24, 2009 @03:09PM (#30217160)

    In case anyone is interested, there's an online video of an interesting talk given by US Attorney Terrence Berg about the investigation and prosecution of the Ralsky case:

    Terrence Berg's info & links to the presentation [umich.edu]

    I think it provides insight into how they have to approach these kinds of cases, and how difficult it can be to go from "knowing" someone is violating anti-spam laws to getting the right kind of evidence to "prove" that someone is doing something illegal. It was also kind of fun to hear about some of the details before they became public (I think the video may still have those parts edited out, though).

    The talk was at this year's SUMIT conference at the University of Michigan, an annual one-day information security event that brings in some great speakers (I've been to all of them, and I think this year's was the best so far). All of the talks are online:

    SUMIT_09 Videos [umich.edu]

    If you have time, check out Moxie Marlinspike's talk about SSL and Alex Halderman's talk on the cold boot attacks (this isn't particularly new stuff, but I thought the talks were very entertaining and interesting).

  • by Chyeld ( 713439 ) <chyeld@NOsPAm.gmail.com> on Tuesday November 24, 2009 @03:20PM (#30217266)

    Neither does CoS without the subject's consent. AFAIK CoS isn't kidnapping unwilling people and forcing them to become members, so it's kind of Darwinian in principle

    Hmm... [smh.com.au] I don't agree.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 24, 2009 @03:21PM (#30217280)

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

    When my husband divorced me after the center discovered that while he was a Scientologist, I wasn't. You see, they don't allow you to befriend (unless you're trying to recruit), much less marry, non-Scientologists. This was a number of years ago before most people, including me, knew what a fraud and cult this "religion" is.

    They will convince the convert that anything bad that happens to him is because they're not being a good scientologist. My husband was just laid off during the 80's downturn in oil. Although he did get another job right away, it was obvious they impressed on him that being with me was causing all these bad things to happen. Our marriage had been happy until this happened.

    One reason Travolta kept refusing to admit his son was autistic, is because (any mental illness or perceived by the church as mental illness) is believed to be caused by their contact with "non-clear" (non-Scientologists). Which means they often blame mental illness on the family.

  • by jcr ( 53032 ) <.moc.cam. .ta. .rcj.> on Tuesday November 24, 2009 @03:42PM (#30217562) Journal

    Neither does CoS without the subject's consent.

    Not true. CoS victims include the families of the suckers who join the cult, as well as critics. Paulette Cooper, Keith Henson, Graham Berry, and many, many others.


  • Re:scientology (Score:2, Informative)

    by Wyatt Earp ( 1029 ) on Tuesday November 24, 2009 @04:16PM (#30218016)

    "You even go so far as to mention Young-Earthers -- the same folks who believe that the Earth is 6,000 years old and that we co-existed with dinosaurs. I am not defending scientology in any way, but it is simply not possible to get more retarded than this."

    Yea, you can.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xenu#Summary [wikipedia.org]

    "The now-disembodied victims' souls, which Hubbard called thetans, were blown into the air by the blast. They were captured by Xenu's forces using an "electronic ribbon" ("which also was a type of standing wave") and sucked into "vacuum zones" around the world. The hundreds of billions[5][19] of captured thetans were taken to a type of cinema, where they were forced to watch a "three-D, super colossal motion picture" for thirty-six days. This implanted what Hubbard termed "various misleading data"' (collectively termed the R6 implant) into the memories of the hapless thetans, "which has to do with God, the Devil, space opera, et cetera". This included all world religions, with Hubbard specifically attributing Roman Catholicism and the image of the Crucifixion to the influence of Xenu. The two "implant stations" cited by Hubbard were said to have been located on Hawaii and Las Palmas in the Canary Islands"

  • by Antique Geekmeister ( 740220 ) on Tuesday November 24, 2009 @07:27PM (#30220512)

    You are mistaken on several counts. One is that they do imprison people, as described by numerous former members at http://www.scientology-lies.com/imprisonment.html [scientology-lies.com]. Some members are kept confined at "Flag Base" without correspondence, telephone contact, or any information from the outside world.

    The other is that the "consent" of many victims of Scientology is not "informed consent". The auditing sessions, well-documented as hypnotic conditioning with a lie detector, are used to condition new members to acceptance of the group's beliefs and claims, and acceptance of the group's treatment, without informing the victim of the genuine costs or the actual potential benefits of the treatment, or the risks of loss of income, loss of family, and in some cases such as http://www.lisamcpherson.org/ [lisamcpherson.org] loss of life.

    Worse, this cult _preys_ on the mentally ill, at Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, at prisons, and other venues, by offering physical and mental health and fraudulently lying about psycho-active medication and treatments from professionals from behind its front, the "Citizen's Commission on Human Rights". They're nasty: removing their non-profit status would be a good step towards forcing them to open up their books, pay off various court judgments against them, and tracing where the money and the people went. In particular, it would make the "auditing folders" part of business records that could be easily subpoenaed.

The intelligence of any discussion diminishes with the square of the number of participants. -- Adam Walinsky