Spam vigilante faces jail

A man who threatened to take the law into his own hands after being 'bombarded' with emails advertising penis enlargement faces going to prison in the US

A Californian computer programmer has been arrested on charges of threatening employees of a company that he claims has been spamming him with adverts offering penis enlargement.

Charles Booher, 44, is now facing years in prison and a fine of up to a quarter of a million dollars after threatening revenge on the staff of the Canadian plastic surgery company.

The California resident said that his computer had been practically disabled for months because of the spam, leading him to make threats including sending anthrax to the firm and castrating or torturing employees with an ice pick and a power drill.

Booher said that he had contacted the firm to request that they stop contacting him after he was bombarded with emails and pop-ups, which he claimed were the result of a programme he accidentally downloaded from the Internet. When the spam continued, Booher decided to take things into his own hands, making the threats over a period of several months.

The plastic surgeons in question denied responsibility for the spam, blaming a rival penis enlarger's underhand tactics for setting them up.

Booher's bail has been set at $75,000 and a preliminary hearing is expected next month. Booher isn't the first to act on his 'spam rage' -- a Russian minister decided to exact his revenge on an English-language school that was spamming him by arranging a phone system that automatically dialled the language school with a message warning them off emailing him -- up to 1,000 times in one morning.