CAN-SPAM Act: 1; Spammers: 90 Billion
For those of us who have become resentful noncombatants in the war on spam, grimly deleting the “make-p3nis-fast” missives that inundate us in muttering outrage, news that prosecutors are finally going to bring down some righteous retribution of spammer Adam Vitale brings a welcome smile to the face. Vitale pleaded guilty yesterday to broadcasting 1.2 million unsolicited emails to AOL users for several days in August 2005. Under the provisions of the CAN-SPAM Act, he faces a maximum sentence of 11 years in prison and a fine of $250,000 or double the maximum gain or loss from his offense, which could be quite hefty if his claims of making $40,000 a week from pump-and-dump spamming prove true.
Sadly, Vitale’s fate likely won’t make an appreciable dent in the spam pouring into anyone’s inbox. Current estimates put the number of spam messages broadcast at about 90 billion per day. “I think this is a moral victory for AOL, but not much else,” Adam O’Donnell, director of emerging technologies at Cloudmark, told IDG. “The economic motivations underlying abuse mean some other spammer has already taken his place, and it is likely the spammer’s replacement is coming from outside American jurisdiction.”