In a close vote, the Virginia Supreme Court ruled today that 1st amendment free speech protection doesn’t protect forging email headers for spamming purposes. This means convicted spammer Jeremy Jaynes still has to serve his sentence for such practices.
As a result of the 4-to-3 vote, Jaynes will serve nine years in prison for sending millions of illegal spam messages in 2003, absent an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Spamming itself is not illegal. It is allowed under the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003. However, the law prohibits the use of false or misleading message headers and deceptive subject lines. It requires a way to opt-out, a valid postal address, and that the message is identified as an advertisement.
This is an issue that we’ll probably hearing more about in the near future, as another well-known spammer, Robert Soloway, is headed to court soon to face his own charges for mail abuse and using so-called botnets to send millions of spam emails.
Soloway was arrested in May and charged with sending out tens of millions of unsolicited messages; so many, in fact, that investigators called him the “Spam King,” and his arrest was hailed as a major blow in the fight against spam. Many of Soloway’s unsolicited messages were sent out using hacked “zombie” computers infected with botnet software, prosecutors allege.
The United States Attorney’s Office is seeking more than $770,000 in fines, but Soloway is also facing fraud and identity theft charges that could result in jail time.
Of course, even with this two heavy-hitters out, we’re still seeing far too much email spam. But hopefully these and similar cases will help pare that down eventually.
If criminal prosecutions like Soloway’s are deterring spammers, you wouldn’t know if from looking at your inbox. Security vendor IronPort said that spam volume on the Internet was up 100 percent in 2007, jumping to 120 billion unwanted messages per day.
So we still have a ways to go.
[tags]Spam, spamming, spammers, email, Robert Soloway, Jeremy Jaynes[/tags]