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Canadian Spammer Fined Over $1 Billion 379

innocent_white_lamb writes "A man has been fined ONE BEELYUN DOLLARS (yes, really) for sending 4,366,386 spam messages that were posted on Facebook. He was fined $100 for each message, and including punitive damages he now owes $1,068,928,721.46. A ruling by a US District Court judge in San Jose, California has now been upheld by the Quebec Superior Court (the defendant lives in Montreal)."
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Canadian Spammer Fined Over $1 Billion

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  • by WrongSizeGlass ( 838941 ) on Tuesday October 05, 2010 @11:19PM (#33803690)
    If he files bankruptcy, and Facebook doesn't get their billion dollars, can Facebook claim the billion as a 'loss' (a la 'bad debt', 'uncollectable account', etc) and get a tax break out of it?
  • Where's my money? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by DeadlyFoez ( 1371901 ) on Tuesday October 05, 2010 @11:40PM (#33803882)
    If they "fined" him $100 for each message, then with the 20+ messages that I got because of him means that the US government should be giving ME that money. I'm the one who got spammed, why is the government getting money for what he did wrong to me? That does not make sense.
  • Re:That's too much (Score:3, Interesting)

    by slimjim8094 ( 941042 ) <> on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @12:07AM (#33804140)

    Nobody expects him to pay. Even a fine of 1 million dollars (1/1000 of the amount) would be essentially impossible to pay - that's many people's lifetime earnings before expenses.

    This is clearly a no-more-fucking-around sort of fine. Whatever they fined him at, he wouldn't be paying it, so might as well use the actual amount to send a message.

  • by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @12:10AM (#33804168)

    I will agree with spammers that an individual spam is not a major imposition. However, it does cost people something. E-mail isn't free, you have to maintain bandwidth to receive it (a double digit percentage of our university's usage is e-mail in various forms) and it does take time for people to delete it. Not a lot, but some. So, let's be fair, we'll say a 0.1 cent fine and 0.1 second of jail or probation time for each message. Oh what's that? You sent 1 trillion spam messages? Sorry, guess you are fucked then. Should have considered the scale of your operation.

    I like it because it would really hammer home that the problem with spam is the scale, and that punishments would scale with that. So suppose you spam your company's mailing list a few times and rather than ask you to knock it off, your boss presses charges. Ok well you sent 10 messages to 1,000 people so 10,000 messages. You are on the hook for $10 in fines and about 16 minutes of probation. A mild slap on the wrist, basically, unlikely they'd even prosecute. However you are a major pharmaceutical spammer that has sent out 3 billion messages? That'll be $3 million please and we'll see you in about 9 and a half years.

    I realize that the way the laws are structured now such a thing couldn't actually happen, I just like the idea. An individual unwanted e-mail message is not a big deal, that is true, it is the scale and thus the scale should determine the punishment.

  • Corruption (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @12:13AM (#33804202)
    I guarantee you this happened because Facebook somehow influenced the judge so they could get a positive billion dollars on their balance sheet. Accounting is wonderful that way -- you can claim money you don't really have because somebody owes it to you. Nevermind the fact they could never collect on it. The (probably short lived) boost to their various financial metrics will probably net a few million a piece for several of the Facebook execs.
  • Re:That's too much (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @12:29AM (#33804320) Homepage

    To be honest I don't really care whether they can pay or not if the damages are proportional to the harm caused. Even if you're dead broke you can cause great grief to other people, same with people that serve a dozen consecutive life sentences. It's worth making the point even if there's nothing to be gained from it. But though I find spammers to be the scum of the earth, I got to admit there are worse people. It doesn't help taking the damage figures in US courts seriously either, it's like taken out of an Austin Powers movie...

  • by lemmis_86 ( 1135345 ) on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @12:57AM (#33804490) Homepage
    Yeah, what about e.g. medicinal corporations that trash medicines/drugs that are shipped from India to Africa, just because they infringe on some patent, forcing Africa to buy expensive white-man drugs? Isn't that a crime against humanity? Shouldn't they be fined about 96 beelyun dollars?
  • by multiben ( 1916126 ) on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @12:59AM (#33804502)
    To just update you folks who don't like to read and feel like we should cut this guy a break, he didn't just send annoying spam messages - he conned passwords out of users and then fraudulently accessed their accounts. If it was just the spam that would be one thing, but this is much more serious than that. As far as article summaries go this one is pretty crappy because it misses the whole point of the story.
  • by masmullin ( 1479239 ) <> on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @01:05AM (#33804538)

    Actually to make matters more confusing, he is a Quebecker, they have different civil laws than the rest of Canada... however the Quebec civil courts upheld the US ruling.

  • by Mike Van Pelt ( 32582 ) on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @01:31PM (#33812312)

    Quote the spammer, “If there’s anything that does hit my e-mail box that I didn’t ask to receive, I’ll simply press the delete button."

    Any spammer which uses this line of argument should be locked in a prison cell with a 1200 baud terminal logged in to an email account. He only gets fed if he responds to the "Your food is ready" email within 15 minutes.

    The email address he is given for this purpose is posted on every spammer list on Earth.

The road to ruin is always in good repair, and the travellers pay the expense of it. -- Josh Billings