Bounty-hunting spammers

I missed posting a reference to the FTC bounty on spammers this week.

The FTC says a bounty is about the only thing that will work. In other news, the Pope is still Catholic.You can make spam illegal all you want, but the problem is tracking the people down. They’ve had years to practice concealing their origins. If you and I can’t track them down, then chances are law enforcement can’t track them down all that easily either.

Without inside information, you won’t track them down, at least not without going 1984 on everybody. And if there’s one thing that makes people scream louder than spam, it’s encroaching on their rights, whether those rights are perceived or real.

But the people with inside information don’t have much incentive to turn spammers in.

The question is where the funding comes from. Hopefully the fines levied against the lawbreakers will be enough to pay the whistleblowers. To me, it’s a very legitimate use of the money.

Of course, the direct marketing people are screaming and hollering that too much power is going to anti-spam groups. They would have less problem if they had taken a strong stand against spam in the first place.

I don’t think they’ll get much sympathy. At least I hope not. A few local business owners made headlines when they ignored Missouri’s Don’t-Call list and then were sued out of business. I didn’t have any sympathy for them. They knew the law was coming and what they had to do in order to comply. Besides, if I need my windshield fixed, do you think I’m going to wait for a telemarketer to call me in the middle of dinner?

Additionally, many of these spammers are breaking other laws as well. Since when is it legal to sell me Valium without a prescription? And if bigoea@yahoo.com is a licensed pharmacist, why is he resorting to spamming people at random to get customers? If you know of a pharmacy that’s hurting for business, I’d sure like to know about it because I’ll go there and so will everyone else I know who’s tired of waiting 30 minutes to get a prescription.

More than likely, the person hiding behind theat Yahoo address is either misrepresenting what he’s selling (fraud) or selling prescription drugs without a license (drug trafficking), and he may very well be guilty of breaking numerous other laws and needs to be put away anyway.

Tell me again why direct marketers haven’t done everything they possibly can to distance themselves from these people?

Giving the insider who turns the spammer in enough money to take a year (or five, depending on lifestyle) off work seems the best way to eliminate some of these lowlives who continue to clog our inboxes and our Internet connections.

4 thoughts on “Bounty-hunting spammers

  • September 20, 2004 at 11:58 pm
    Permalink

    Most spam that I see is sent under fake names, with fake subjects, etc. I don’t know what constitues false advertising in a legal sense, but if it doesn’t it probably should.

    More than that I’ve read stories lately of criminals offering access to thousands of "captive" compromised computers for illicit use for a fee. No doubt a lot of spam comes from such compromised "zombie" machines, which is certainly illegal.

    I’m cautious of using the government to squelch activity that I don’t like, but I think that there is ample reason to do so in the case of spam.


    -Steve

  • September 20, 2004 at 11:58 pm
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    I am suprised and shocked by the public’s attitude toward spam and spammers. Spammers have a place in society providing the products needed and desired by the population.
    Dave mentions pharmacies. There are many people that can’t leave their homes. They can’t obtain prescriptions for medications such as Valium, OxyContin, Lorcet and Hydrocodone. Unlike Rush, many people don’t have housekeepers. The spam gives the addresses for the places to buy.
    You can obtain url’s for people that can help you with any hair loss problems. In your mail each day is offers for enhancing products and addresses for adult entertainment.
    If spam was eliminated so would the opportunities to help individuals in Africa. Your chance to move money to the U.S. would disappear.
    If spam is outlawed, the public will miss many wonderful opportunities.
    Without spam, many will have empty mail boxes each morning.
    Don’t forget the ten’s of thousands of computers used by individual spammers. They would just sit idly if they weren’t captured for this money making work. This gives the P.C. a reason to exist.

  • September 21, 2004 at 1:27 pm
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    Me too. Speaking of which, I’m within eyeshot of a parking lot full of cars just sitting idle, with no reason to exist. Shouldn’t spammers be permitted to find a use for those as well? Like, maybe driving those people who are unable to leave home to a pharmacy…

    • September 21, 2004 at 7:16 pm
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      Absolutely, but only if they can be Gone in Sixty Seconds.
      There are so few Renaissance Criminals.

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