Ex-AOLer gets one day in jail per 189K IDs stolen

Ex-AOLer gets one day in jail per 189K IDs stolen

Summary: Sending a clear message to anybody who comes to the aid of a spammer by illicitly securing electronic IDs, New York U.S.

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TOPICS: Tech Industry
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Sending a clear message to anybody who comes to the aid of a spammer by illicitly securing electronic IDs, New York U.S. District Judge (yes, ID theft is a felony) Alvin Hellerstein has sentenced former American Online employee Jason Smathers to 15 months in prison for stealing 92 million AOL screen names and then selling them to a spammer for $28,000.  If you do the math, he sold each name for a mere 3/100ths of an American cent.  Apparently, Smathers pleaded for leniency and got it. His jailtime works out to about one day of time for every 189,000 names stolen (or for every $57 made) which if you ask me seems a little on the light side.  A fine is also under consideration (the Judge has hinted at $84,000 -- three times what Smathers was paid for the "loot").   Now, if I was the judge (a hangin' judge at that),....

Topic: Tech Industry

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5 comments
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  • ID theft

    So did this guy sell the social security numbers with the IDs or JUST the email addresses to this "spammer"? Without SSNs, thieves cannot steal identities - so just WHO was hurt? A few extra spam messages per person is HARDLY a major crime . . .
    Roger Ramjet
    • So, let me get this straight

      Illegally copying and selling a list of email IDs is not as bad as illegally copying and selling a list of email IDS AND social security numbers?

      Well, let me posit you this - if those 92 million email addresses were used to send phishing emails and even just .1% of them got the poor suckers to bite, what do you tell those 92,000 people who got their IDs compromised, bank accounts emptied, phony credit cards issued, etc. - "oh, he only sold your mail addresses to scum - HE didn't actually send you that phony phishing mail."

      Yeah, no crime there at all.

      And, please post your email address so we can see how a "few extra spam messages per person" affects you.

      It always amazes me how far some people will go to excuse a crime. If I ever commit one, I want you on my jury. I will be walking before the the gavel hits the stand.
      Confused by religion
      • "please post your email address so we can see"- LOL

        LOL!
        Ahhhh, that's the perfect reply.
        Of course you're right.
        If he got 1 second in jail for every email address he stole, he would be in jail amost 3 years.

        Think how much time, effort and money is wasted by the people who get those emails, and I agree his sentence was light.
        el1jones
  • Sentence light, but appropriate

    Look, we'd all like to throw this guy in jail for longer. However, when we have murderers and rapists getting out of jail in 10 years, I have a hard time telling this guy he should do more than a year. What he did was bad, but he's not a child molester who gets out in 5 years.
    aodonnell
  • Re: Ex-AOLer gets one day in jail per 189K IDs stolen

    With the minimum wage neing $6.15 an hour, the $57.00 / day for jail time looks mighty nigh to dead-on to me ($6.15 x 8 hour day [Year a working day not a Jail Day] = $49.20 rounded that $50.00)

    IF Ebbers got a day for every $50.00 bucks, he'd be in jail for 54 Years, 9 Month, 2 weeks, 5 days for EVERY SINGLE MILLION. Lets apply that to the Enron folks too.
    BaronVonServers