Turn Off Ads?
Results 1 to 7 of 7

Thread: AOL worker who stole e-mail list sentenced

  1. #1
    Rally Onion! Chip R's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Location
    Cincinnati, OH
    Posts
    34,515

    AOL worker who stole e-mail list sentenced

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20050817/...e/aol_spamming

    AOL Worker Who Stole E-Mail List Sentenced
    By LARRY NEUMEISTER, Associated Press Writer

    NEW YORK - A former America Online software engineer was sentenced Wednesday to a year and three months in prison for stealing 92 million screen names and e-mail addresses and selling them to spammers who sent out up to 7 billion unsolicited e-mails.

    "I know I've done something very wrong," a soft-spoken and teary eyed Jason Smathers told U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein.

    The judge credited the 25-year-old former Harpers Ferry, W. Va., resident for his contrition and efforts to help the government before he pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges. A plea deal had called for a sentence of at least a year and a half in prison.

    In a letter from Smathers to the court that was read partially into the record by Assistant U.S. Attorney David Siegal, Smathers tried to explain the crimes that AOL has said cost the company at least $400,000 and possibly millions of dollars.

    "Cyberspace is a new and strange place," Siegal said Smathers wrote. "I was good at navigating in that frontier and I became an outlaw."

    As the judge indicated he would be lenient toward Smathers, Siegal told Hellerstein that the public needs to learn from the case that the "Internet is not lawless."

    "The public at large has an interest in making sure people respect the same values that apply in everyday life, on the Internet," Siegal said.

    The judge imposed the reduced sentence of one year and three months, saying he recognized that Smathers cooperated fully with the government but did not have the kind of information that would have helped to build other criminal cases.

    He said leniency was appropriate for "someone who tries hard to bare his soul but doesn't have the information the government needs."

    In December, Hellerstein rejected the first attempt by Smathers to plead guilty, saying he was not convinced he had actually committed a crime. The judge accepted the plea in February, saying prosecutors had sufficiently explained why he had.

    Smathers has admitted that he accepted $28,000 from someone who wanted to pitch an offshore gambling site to AOL customers, knowing that the list of screen names might make its way to others who would send e-mail solicitations.

    The judge has recommended that Smathers be forced to pay $84,000 in restitution, triple what he earned. The imposition of restitution was delayed to give AOL a chance to prove the damages were much greater. The judge suggested the figure of at least $400,000 in damages was subjective.

    Prosecutors said Smathers had engaged in the interstate transportation of stolen property and had violated a new federal CAN-SPAM law, short for Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act, which is meant to diminish unsolicited e-mail messages about everything from Viagra to mortgages.

    In December, the judge said he had dropped his own AOL membership because he received too much spam.

    America Online Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Time Warner Inc., has since launched a major assault on spam, significantly reducing unsolicited e-mails.

    Smathers was fired by AOL last June. Authorities said he used another employee's access code to steal the list of AOL customers in 2003 from its headquarters in Dulles, Va.

    Smathers allegedly sold the list to Sean Dunaway, of Las Vegas, who used it to send unwanted gambling advertisements to subscribers of AOL, the world's largest Internet provider. Charges are pending against Dunaway.

    The stolen list of 92 million AOL addresses included multiple addresses used by each of AOL's estimated 30 million customers. It is believed to be still circulating among spammers.

    The judge refused a Probation Department recommendation that Smathers be banned from his profession, saying he trusted Smathers had learned his lesson.
    The Rally Onion wants 150 fans before Opening Day.

    http://www.facebook.com/pages/Rally-...24872650873160

  2. Turn Off Ads?
  3. #2
    RZ Chamber of Commerce Unassisted's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    San Antonio
    Posts
    13,453

    Re: AOL worker who stole e-mail list sentenced

    I wish they'd put a big group of the cretins who do the emailing in the cell with him. Spike their food with C1@LIS and ViA.gr@.
    /r/reds

  4. #3
    Where's my chair? REDREAD's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2000
    Posts
    21,123

    Re: AOL worker who stole e-mail list sentenced

    What do you guys think of the punishment? Is 15 months in jail and a 84k fine too harsh, too lenient, or just right?

    IMO, that seems like a lot of jail time for generating spam. I have no problem with the fine though.
    Thank you Walt and Bob for going for it in 2010-2014!

    Nov. 13, 2007: One of the greatest days in Reds history: John Allen gets the boot!

  5. #4
    Rally Onion! Chip R's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Location
    Cincinnati, OH
    Posts
    34,515

    Re: AOL worker who stole e-mail list sentenced

    Quote Originally Posted by REDREAD
    What do you guys think of the punishment? Is 15 months in jail and a 84k fine too harsh, too lenient, or just right?

    IMO, that seems like a lot of jail time for generating spam. I have no problem with the fine though.
    He'll probably get that reduced for good behavior.
    The Rally Onion wants 150 fans before Opening Day.

    http://www.facebook.com/pages/Rally-...24872650873160

  6. #5
    The Lineups stink. KronoRed's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    West N. Carolina
    Posts
    55,702

    Re: AOL worker who stole e-mail list sentenced

    Sounds about right to me.
    Go Gators!

  7. #6
    RZ Chamber of Commerce Unassisted's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    San Antonio
    Posts
    13,453

    Re: AOL worker who stole e-mail list sentenced

    Quote Originally Posted by REDREAD
    What do you guys think of the punishment? Is 15 months in jail and a 84k fine too harsh, too lenient, or just right?

    IMO, that seems like a lot of jail time for generating spam. I have no problem with the fine though.
    I really do wish that some spammers would get a splashy conviction and do some time for their misuse of a valuable utility. I figure that sentence was designed to send a message, so I don't have a problem with it. $84,000 is a drop in the bucket, compared to AOL's investment in hardware, software and staff to keep spam away from their members. This guy should be made to pay AOL for the cost of spam remediation.

    IMO, what he did is akin to letting the spammers onto the grounds at AOL headquarters, handing them a spray can and walking away before they cover the walls with graffiti. He should be made to contribute to cleaning up the mess.
    /r/reds

  8. #7
    Harry Chiti Fan registerthis's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Washington, DC
    Posts
    5,872

    Re: AOL worker who stole e-mail list sentenced

    Punishment sounds about right.

    "SPAM" is one of those things whose existence bothers people much more than the actual process of getting rid of it. people are highly irritated that they receive dozens of crap mail a day for sexual enhancers, mortgages, cooking utensils, whatever. But, really, it takes no more than 2-3 seconds to delete all of them, in terms of inconvenience SPAM is a very minor one.

    Had the man sold detailed and priveleged customer data, that would be one thing...but AOL e-mail addresses really AREN'T that big of a deal. Anyone with a few minutes of time and a little ingenuity could locate mine rather quickly. And if they sent me crap mail, I'd just delete it.
    We'll burn that bridge when we get to it.


Turn Off Ads?

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

Board Moderators may, at their discretion and judgment, delete and/or edit any messages that violate any of the following guidelines: 1. Explicit references to alleged illegal or unlawful acts. 2. Graphic sexual descriptions. 3. Racial or ethnic slurs. 4. Use of edgy language (including masked profanity). 5. Direct personal attacks, flames, fights, trolling, baiting, name-calling, general nuisance, excessive player criticism or anything along those lines. 6. Posting spam. 7. Each person may have only one user account. It is fine to be critical here - that's what this board is for. But let's not beat a subject or a player to death, please.

Thank you, and most importantly, enjoy yourselves!


RedsZone.com is a privately owned website and is not affiliated with the Cincinnati Reds or Major League Baseball


Contact us: Boss | GIK | BCubb2003 | dabvu2498 | Gallen5862 | LexRedsFan | Plus Plus | RedlegJake | redsfan1995 | The Operator | Tommyjohn25