Spam is not only annoying but it costs great sums to business and mere citizens. But noone either wishes or is ready to hunt down spammers or create effective measures to stop spam at the source.
I's quite obvious that four years and a $250,000 fine is not the best punishment for the self-proclaimed "Godfather of Spam". The problem is that noone takes the criminal aspects of spam seriously enough. Alan Ralsky, 64, and six others have been convicted in a spam-based stock swindle. Thet gang used e-mail pitches to create a market for essentially worthless stock, which Ralsky and others sold unsuspecting investors for huge profits before the stock price tanked.
Ralsky was sentenced on Tuesday to four years in prison, five years' probation, and a $250,000 fine. Cases remain pending against two others.
The gang was been convicted of stealing millions of dollars from investors, but has actually done much more, such as helping create the market for otherwise unnecessary anti-spam software, infecting people's computers with bots, and wasting untold hours of our time.
Such cases prompt the idea of innocent victims-everyone else. With worldwide spam now amounting to 86 % of all e-mail traffic, the cost of handing this trash is incredible.
Richi Jennings at Ferris Research estimates that worldwide spam costs $130 billion annually, and that is just the cost to business. In the United States, Jennings estimates spam will cost businesses $42 billion this year. That is $13.63 annually for every U.S. resident--just for businesses handling spam!
Personal costs are not included, nor are the infrastructure the spam uses to get from place to place. Add this all up and spam is a very expensive worldwide scourge, largely perpetrated as a criminal enterprise.
Because of its economic impact, penalties for convicted spammers need to be dramatically increased, matching those given to violent criminals. Three-strikes laws should also apply to spammers.
The resume is evident: spam is a crime, it supports other crimes, and the criminals should be dealt with harshly.
PC World has contributed to the report.