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January 14, 2005
Hang 'em High
Big Spam Bust, Texas Style

Texas became the latest state or federal entity to take a swipe at spammers Thursday when it sued a University of Texas student and a California resident over what spam watchdog SpamHaus calls the world's fourth largest illegal e-mail operation.

Sued? Sued???

I was under the impression that such spammery was a crime... you know, with things like strip-searches and prison sentences pertaining thereto.

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott called Ryan Samuel Pitylak of Austin and Mark Stephen Trotter of Encinitas, Calif., two of the nation's "most prolific spammers" in an Austin press conference detailing the multi-million dollar civil action.

I'd rather see the state take a little "uncivil" action towards the reprobates.

I'd really rather handle it myself, perhaps with a mob group of my fellow 'net afficionados, in a somewhat more convincing manner and with a more lasting deterrent effect than mere civil penalties are likely to provide.

Abbott said Pitylak and Trotter engaged in "reaching out and harassing hundreds of thousands of people across the United States" in a fraudulent e-mail scheme involving misleading subject lines.

The lawsuit contends the two were pitching mortgage refinancing services, although neither Pitylak nor Trotter are licensed in Texas to provide such services. According to Abbott, consumers, after being assured in the e-mail their privacy would be protected, provided personal information which Pitylak and Trotter then sold to other companies for as much as $28 per lead.

Given the number of idiots on the 'net these days (there's a sucker coming online every millisecond) there's some real money to be made in that business. And I'm sure that line of work is a good deal safer than, say, dealing crack on a street corner.

"Hey, kids! Want a career in a low-risk high-potential work-from-home career?"

"We want to make clear that these defendants we are suing today and any other spammers in the State of Texas can't hide behind a computer screen any longer," Abbott said at the press conference. "Sending spam with misleading subject lines violate both federal and state law and there is a very heavy price to pay for that illegal spamming."

That price ought to include a good old-fashioned western-style necktie party. Considering this case is being raised in Texas, I'm surprised at the lack of prosecutorial ferocity.

Posted by Russ at 03:33 PM, January 14, 2005 in Geekery

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