"Buffalo Spammer" Convicted - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

04/02/04

"Buffalo Spammer" Convicted

Email spam tops email users' complaint lists at Savannah's Bits, Bytes and Coffee internet cafe. "It's just like telemarketing," said customer Michael Jarrett. "I didn't give them my number, I didn't give them my email, I don't want to hear from them."

And experts say spam now accounts for the majority of email traffic worldwide. "Ninety percent of my email is spam, easily," said Jarrett.

Customer Ron Higgins agreed with the percentage. "If I don't check my email for two, three days, I'll end up with maybe 439 emails," he said. "And I know, maybe ten percent are actually emails for me."

The CAN SPAM Act, a new federal law to crack down on the problem, hasn't had the desired effect. Everyone we spoke with at the cafe said there seemed to be little or no difference in the amount of spam they received.

Now, there's some light at the end of the tunnel. Howard Carmack, a.k.a. the Buffalo Spammer, is going to jail in New York for up to seven years. Prosecutors say he was responsible for hundreds of millions of unsolicited emails. They convicted him of identity theft and forgery, tools he used to disguise his identity and elude investigators. Many of the face accounts he set up were through Atlanta-based Earthlink, which aided the investigation.

While there's no shortage of spam and probably won't be for a long time, this major conviction sends a very important message to criminal spammers. Prosecutors are now empowered to track them down and send them to jail. But it's important to recognize that there are legitimate email marketers. It becomes criminal when marketers hide their identities and don't provide a way for you to opt out of their lists.

Those who use deceptive tactics and hide their identities so you can't contact them could face the fate of the Buffalo Spammer.

Reported by: Charles Gray, cgray@wtoc.com

 

Powered by Frankly