December 14, 2003 | Graham

Opportunity knocks for Nigerian email scammers?

According to Wired News the US State of Virginia has indicted two spammers for breaking its newly proclaimed anti-spam legislation. One of the two, Jeremy Jaynes, “is number 8 on the top 10 worldwide spammer list”.
Virginia is a particularly significant state as more than 50% of all Internet traffic in the world passes through it because that is where AOL and 1,300 other ISPs or technology companies live. Anti-spam legislation in the Virginia jurisdiction is probably more influential on the spam that arrives in Australian email intrays than the legislation that will come into effect here next year.
The offence carries a potential 5 year jail term, and up to $2,500 USD in fines. Presumably the jail terms are a more significant deterrent than the fines. Wired reports that both the men “were supporting affluent lifestyles”, so yes, spam does work and it does pay.
While these convictions are superficially heartening, I can’t help but think that the net result won’t be significant. Not only do I continue to get record amounts of spam, despite these guys being off the market, but this looks like an export opportunity for somewhere like Nigeria. The USA takes a very generous view of its ability to pass laws with extraterritorial effect. Still, I’d like to see it try to enforce this one beyond its own bounds. Switzerland, Lichtenstein, the Jersey Islands, Monaco, the Caymans, the Bahamas, and the Cook Islands all demonstrate that there is a nice living to be made dodging financial imposts in First World countries. Nigeria already produces a lot of the spam courtesy of its infamous email scam, so it is in an advanced position to become a spam haven. Something else to do if the oil ever runs out.

Posted by Graham at 10:13 pm | Comments Off on Opportunity knocks for Nigerian email scammers? |
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