Spam Rage
November 21, 2003 3:00 PM   Subscribe

Penis Enlargement Web Ads Prompt Calif. Spam Rage
The guy lost his cool because the pop up spammers basically unleashed all their tricks on him and there was nothing he could do to stop it.
So he threatened to unleash anthrax on them, to use a power drill and an ice pick and to shoot them.
He doesn't own any guns nor did he have access to anthrax and yet he now faces up to 5 years in prison and $250,000 in fines.
Does this set a bad precedent for fighting back against spammers? Or did he get what he deserved for threatening them like this? The case raises some interesting issues about how hard you can fight back against spammers and pop up 'noids.
posted by fenriq (22 comments total)
A Silicon Valley computer programmer...

...who couldn't remove a trojan horse? He probably works for Symantec.
posted by Mayor Curley at 3:18 PM on November 21, 2003

He asked for it. No-brainer.
posted by mischief at 3:26 PM on November 21, 2003

Spamming = despicable and should be illegal.
Threatening bodily harm = despicable and is illegal.
Threatening bodily harm with anthrax = despicable, illegal, extra-stupid.

Perhaps it's a good thing this evidently inept and unstable person was caught now, rather than after some post-job-loss shooting spree.
posted by Tubes at 3:45 PM on November 21, 2003

I'm not touching you, I'm not touching you, I'm not touching you, I'm not touching you, I'm not touching you, I'm not touching you,I'm not touching you, I'm not touching you, I'm not touching you, I'm not touching you, I'm not touching you,I'm not touching you, I'm not touching you, I'm not touching you, I'm not touching you, I'm not touching you, I'm no*SMACK!*

Moooooom! Billy hit me, and I wasn't even touching him!

Billy, obviously, was also asking for it.
posted by majcher at 3:46 PM on November 21, 2003

I don't understand how not being allowed to threaten somebody can be considered a detriment to fighting against spammers. I've yet to have a gun, knife or unhygienic towel brandished at me by a spammer. When spammers start stalking you and beating you up you'll be fully entitled to threaten to kill them, or quite possibly carry out those actions. Until then if you make threats against them you're behaving more criminally than the spammers do.
posted by substrate at 4:01 PM on November 21, 2003

I think all parties involved are overreacting except for the Canadian government who should have the spamming company's staff executed on the spot.
posted by zerofoks at 4:34 PM on November 21, 2003

Caution: Thoughtcrime.
posted by woil at 4:50 PM on November 21, 2003

i was halfway through that article when i realized the title wasnt:
"Penis Enlargement Web Ads Prompt Calif. Sperm Rage."
posted by rhapsodie at 5:00 PM on November 21, 2003

This is vastly underestimating the degree to which harassment can drive people to rage and despair. I'm a reasonable, rational, liberal person - yet, as zerofoks says, I would have no problem with the idea of instituting a death penalty for spammers. The legal system doesn't take sufficiently seriously the effect of 'little murders': long-standing anti-social psychological abuse, such as spammers cause.
posted by raygirvan at 5:00 PM on November 21, 2003

I think that particularly given the tenacity of Adware and Spyware on the Windows platform any insanity induced is purely intentional on the part of the Ad/Spyware provider. All it takes is one misclick and a user is plagued forever by something that can be nearly impossible to get rid of short of a reformat and reinstall. For some reason, this kind of Active-X installed software isn't considerd illegal in the way that viruses are.

That said, the whole anthrax thing was little much.
posted by shagoth at 5:19 PM on November 21, 2003

Maybe it's this guy? (nsfw audio, g-rated flash)
posted by PrinceValium at 5:22 PM on November 21, 2003

Canadian government? Death Penalty?

posted by shepd at 6:50 PM on November 21, 2003


Obviously, he should be prosecuted had he actually done any of the things he mentioned. But it sounds more like the sort of half-assed threat you hear on, for example, MeFi. And around here "communicating a threat" is only a crime (and a misdemeanor at that) if a "reasonable person" would be led to believe that the threat is likely to be carried out.
posted by IshmaelGraves at 8:27 PM on November 21, 2003

I found myself replying to a "Penis Patch" spam email a few weeks ago with this:

"Dear Sir/Madam - Thank you for your kind and tempting product offer, but I find your product unecessary as I have already achieved my target size for the length and girth of my member (exactly matched to the corresponding sexual organ possesed by my dear wife) by means of certain secret methods I acquired while travelling in Bali. I was enjoying a number of refreshing alcoholic beverages with an elder of his village who, after the third such beverage (the name of which escapes me at the moment), began to boast of the size of his sexual organ. I expressed my incredulity, at which point the man opened his garment and displayed the monstrous object. I was suitably impressed and asked him if the trait ran in his family. No, he replied, we have certain methods. Two drinks later, a bribe of several hundred ( US$ ) had secured a promise to reveal these methods.

The man was true to his word and, I'll have to tell you - after 6 months during which I daily employed this curious Balinese cocktail of stretching techniques, breath control, the use of lead weights, and also a foul-tasting herbal mixture - my sexual organ quickly grew to unexpected proportions. The experiment was so successful, in fact, that my wife requested at the 13th month that I stop my regimen.

I am writing to extend to you a special, one time only business offer............."

posted by troutfishing at 8:41 PM on November 21, 2003

I think the punishment should fit the crime. The judge should repeatedly threaten to send Booker to jail, to the electric chair, to Detroit, and then actually do none of these things.

It would be poetic justice considering that the whole thing started with penis extension products that also make promises but don't deliver.
posted by kindall at 9:04 PM on November 21, 2003

Every spam message MUST contain a true permanent phone number of the sending company. Otherwise the punishment is death by live skinning. That'd work for me.
posted by HTuttle at 9:05 PM on November 21, 2003

Both excellent suggestions.
posted by troutfishing at 9:23 PM on November 21, 2003

kindall, that would be among the funniest ways to deal with this issue possible.

And HTuttle, if the skinnings were broadcast live over the internet I think they might work decently well to discourage spammers.
posted by fenriq at 10:22 PM on November 21, 2003

Spyware penis enlargement pop-ups are degrading to all of humanity.
posted by inksyndicate at 11:37 PM on November 21, 2003

I consider myself a perfectly reasonable person. I also filter out about 50-75 spams a day (plus the inevitable 10-15 that get through).

I see absolutely nothing unreasonable about kneecapping the bastards who send them. In fact, I like the webcam-skinning idea, too. Maybe kneecap 'em, then skin 'em, and then spam their friends and families with ads for the streaming video of it.
posted by wdpeck at 3:33 AM on November 22, 2003

Surely there's not a jury in the world that would convict?
posted by salmacis at 5:41 AM on November 22, 2003

The only thing this dude should be arrested for is his failure to follow up on his civic duty to carry out the threats.
posted by majick at 7:38 AM on November 22, 2003

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