Restraining Order Issued Against Facebook SpammersBy: WebProNews Staff - March 4, 2009
Facebook won a restraining order against notorious spam king Samford “Spamford” Wallace in US District Court, a victory that, if history is any indication, is mostly symbolic.
Facebook sued Wallace and two other cybercriminals—Adam Arzoomanian and Scott Shaw—last week, alleging the trio was spamming Facebook members’ walls in phishing attempts. Facebook said they were impersonating friends and posting links to malicious websites. The court issued a temporary restraining order from them.
The lawsuit itself is likely to succeed and is likely to do little to prevent Wallace from repeating. Wallace began his spam career well before email, when fax machines were the electronic communication devices of choice. In 1997, the FTC fined Wallace $4 million for his company Cyber Promotions’ spamming and drive-by adware installation offenses.
In 2004, the FTC sued again for spyware violations, and Wallace and codefendants were fined over $5 million. In 2007, MySpace was awarded nearly a quarter of a billion dollars after a court found Wallace liable for automating 11,000 MySpace profiles to drive traffic to gambling and porn sites.
And now Facebook is after him. So that means, what, exactly? Well, one assumes they (well, somebody) will have to find him. Wikipedia says his last residence was Las Vegas, but he has a habit of skipping out on payment and skipping town, only to start some new shady spam venture.
Facebook is trying to prosecute under the CAN-SPAM Act, but it is unclear if those charges will stick because of the law technically pertains to email, not social networks. Hopefully, something sometime will stick this guy, as he is the equivalent of a public pariah, a flasher on a crowded street.
I don’t know if Wallace has paid previous fines, but his continued persistence in innovating ways to spam netizens proves the spam business is a lucrative one. The youngster who hacked Miley Cyrus’s and other celebrity email accounts, Josh Holly, revealed he and an Israeli accomplice were paid $110,000 in advertising affiliate fees to perpetrate their scam.
It seems the only resort for justice will be aggressive prosecution, jail time and asset seizure for cybercrooks. Like before criminal penalties were levied on insider traders, governmental fines are low enough that they become a cost of doing business. Massive civil awards are simply ignored and defendants skip town.