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Facebook wins its first lawsuit against a spammer, and similar lawsuits planned in the future

Popular social networking web site Facebook has won a legal judgment against Adam Guerbuez, a spammer in Canada who has kept a low profile since the lawsuit was filed several months ago.

Guerbuez is said to have sent more than 4 million spam messages to Facebook users in March and April, after hijacking Facebook accounts and using bots to then log into the stolen accounts and start sending out the spam.

Guerbuez, who did not show up to court or defend himself during the event, has become the latest person who must make payments under the federal CAN-SPAM anti-spam law.  

The Palo Alto, Ca.-based web site probably won't receive much of the court-imposed $837M fine, but plan on collecting what they can.

"We know where he is and where he lives and we're looking for him to execute the judgment," Facebook's legal counsel Sam O'Rourke said.  "We have no illusions that we'll get $873 million from this guy, but from what we can tell he has substantial resources.  If he has $1 million, we'll take $1 million.

Facebook understands spammers won't likely stop targeting the No. 1 social networking site in the world, but hopes it will make them think twice before attacking the site.

"Everyone who participates constructively in Facebook should feel confident that we are fighting hard to protect you against spam and other online nuisances," said Max Kelly, Facebook director of security.

The site also plans to launch lawsuits against other spammers, but did not say when that will take place.

MySpace also won a $230M court decision against Sanford "Spamford" Wallace and one of Wallace's business partners.  A month later, MySpace received a $6M settlement from another spammer, Scott Richter, who also sent spam to MySpace users.



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Not showing up?
By InvertMe on 11/26/2008 9:53:13 AM , Rating: 5
Why the hell do people not show up for their court cases? You will almost always get the worst sentence possibly if you do not appear.

I had a friend who got an OUI and he asked me to go to court with him. So I show and see his name on the DAs sheet with a suggested punishment of $800.00 and no time in jail. Pretty good considering he was 3x over the legal limit. Anyways so I wait and wait.. he never shows up.

As a result the judge puts out a warrant on him and he does 3 MONTHS in jail.

When I spoke to him later he said "I was busy" but I know that meant "I was too scared to face the consequences of my actions".

So yeah - if you have to go to court then go!

Well unless you are facing the death sentence then run like hell.




RE: Not showing up?
By amanojaku on 11/26/08, Rating: -1
RE: Not showing up?
By the goat on 11/26/2008 10:59:09 AM , Rating: 3
quote:
if you're innocent it's your obligation to prove that.


Thank god that is not the case in the USA. Innocent until proven guilty.


RE: Not showing up?
By bobsmith1492 on 11/26/2008 12:13:32 PM , Rating: 2
The point here being if you KNOW you're guilty, you'll probably run.


RE: Not showing up?
By Raidin on 11/26/2008 12:30:09 PM , Rating: 2
His point is under the implication that you are innocent yet have been found guilty, so instead of running, you should attempt to prove your innocence, as opposed to running.


RE: Not showing up?
By Rodneytool on 11/26/2008 11:32:23 AM , Rating: 4
The problem with the law is that it is not necessarily fair, it is the law. It is important to remember that at one time in our society it was illegal for women to vote and slavery was legal, that was the law. There are instances when a state will claim jurisdiction threaten a person with all sorts of potential criminal prosecution if they don't show up in court yet in reality they have no jurisdiction in the case. Showing up in court gives them jurisdiction and it is very difficult to challenge, it is best to hire an attorney even if it seems like a small matter.

I lost a child support lawsuit to my ex wife that had no children living with her and she could not prove or show evidence of supporting the children. I assumed going to court with my children as witnesses would get the case dismissed. The law however is completely different, it did not matter that I provided money directly to my children as the court simply enforced the settlement that stated I had to pay child support to my ex wife. I had made the mistake of not taking my ex wife to court when she moved to another state and remarried.

Thus it is not always in your best interest to follow the demands of the court you have to check with an attorney right away it is not like "Judge Judy" on television. I hired an attorney after I made a court appearance and discovered if I had not shown up in the out of state court I would have had a much more favorable settlement for me and my children. Don't be naive and think justice means fairness and common sense.


RE: Not showing up?
By InvertMe on 11/26/2008 2:11:18 PM , Rating: 2
Well obviously not everything is black & white.

And I feel for you about child support payments. I had my daughter 60% of the time and my ex still wanted full child support despite being able to work full time and having our child less time than I did. On top of that I paid for medical coverage for her and our child. And even more on top of that I bought all of the clothing and consumables for our daughter.

So she got a lawyer (free for her because she is a woman) and I had to pay for mine. First time we met we went to a judge who didn't even listen to either of our sides who just looked at our income and declared I had to pay her X dollars. He didn't even take into account the reduction based on health care payments as is mandated by law.

Obviously I didn't let that fly. So I appealed and got the child support reduced to almost nothing.

If I had not shown up to the first appearance then I would have been unable to appeal and would be stuck handing over insane amounts of money to a very greedy person.



RE: Not showing up?
By semo on 11/26/2008 4:52:54 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Well unless you are facing the death sentence then run like hell.
wouldn't you be running away from hell in that instance?

anywho, spammers suck.


RE: Not showing up?
By Lerianis on 11/26/2008 6:07:35 PM , Rating: 2
No, because in a lot of death penalty cases, the person in question who is first convicted is later found to have not done the crime or killing in question, or there were 'mitigating factors' to the case that were never brought out in court.


RE: Not showing up?
By foolsgambit11 on 11/26/2008 5:10:03 PM , Rating: 2
I'm sorry, OUI? What's that? I know it means 'yes' in French.... is it Overclocking Under the Influence? No? Oral sex Under the Influence? Yeah, I thought so.


RE: Not showing up?
By DASQ on 11/28/2008 3:22:24 PM , Rating: 2
Orating Under the Influence.

Stupid talk while drunk should be illegal.


These numbers...
By SlipDizzy on 11/26/2008 10:14:52 AM , Rating: 2
How do they come up with a grand total of 873 million dollars? I don't know much about court and how it works, but suing one guy for 873 million dollars when you know you might not even get one million from him, seems a bit like overkill. I'm going to assume they can take every dollar he makes for the rest of his life and they still won't get anywhere near a tenth of the money.

I'm not saying they are wrong in asking for that much because I don't know the full circumstances. I just want to know how they come up with these numbers.




RE: These numbers...
By amanojaku on 11/26/2008 10:31:17 AM , Rating: 2
Damages are just an estimate - of how much money was actually lost and how much money might have been lost in the future as a result of today's actions. Let's say someone breaks the lock on your house on purpose. Some dumb teenagers destroying neighborhood property, along with putting cherry bombs in mailboxes and toilet paper in trees and bushes. You catch the kids and they have to pay the cost of the lock, wall repair (if any,) toilet paper clean up, mailbox replacements, etc... Now you have an interesting dilemma: should you sue for damages based on the fact that your lock was busted? After all, now people can get into your house and take stuff. The actual damage may be low, but the fact that you were put at risk is now factored in. So the burden is to distinguish the crime: breaking the lock or removing security? That then determines the scope of the damages, i.e. a $100 lock or $250,000 worth of cash, jewels, and electronics.


RE: These numbers...
By Cerin218 on 11/26/2008 10:44:27 AM , Rating: 2
Try reading. This is direct from the FTC's CAN-SPAM website; "Each violation of the above provisions is subject to fines of up to $11,000". He had around 4 million violations. At maximum that would be like 11,000,000,000 dollar fine. I think he got off "lucky".

Personally, as a network administrator for 125 people I am blocking 1200 spam with an SCL rating of 7 and higher. I am quarantining 300 spam with an SCL rating of 4 to 7. And that does not include spam below 4. 1500 spam. A DAY! Some of this spam also has viruses in it which compromise the computers of my non technologically savvy users. If I had my way, spammers convicted of sending over a certain number of spam messages wouldn't get a fine, they would be put to death! 4 million messages by one person? Seriously? Spammers cause nothing but misery and destruction. The only part i find that is sad is that spam is global so there is no way to stop it, and if it didn't work it wouldn't exist. Einstein got it right, "Human stupidity is infinite".


RE: These numbers...
By Lerianis on 11/26/2008 6:09:38 PM , Rating: 1
No, human stupidity is not infinite. The stupidity of your users for opening E-MAIL ATTACHMENTS (which is really the ONLY way to get a virus today from e-mail!) is infinite.


RE: These numbers...
By Helbore on 11/27/2008 1:20:20 PM , Rating: 2
And his users are what? Chiwawas?

Most users are stupid. Most users are human. Stupid humans sens stupid spam to stpuid users. Stupid users open stupid rubbish and infect their PCs with stupid viruses. Then the poor old sys admin has to cleam up all the pointless mess.

Human stupidity may not be infinite. But its certainly on the large side.


go go gadget escape
By PascalT on 11/26/2008 1:06:46 PM , Rating: 2
over/under on him being in another country right now?




Facebook doesn't like spammers?
By japlha on 11/27/2008 1:51:25 PM , Rating: 2
Facebook itself was made because of spam.
If I recall correctly Facebook asks for your username and password when you create an account. Most people will just type it in without thinking then it spams all of your contacts. In fact, I got a spam email from a friend inviting me to join. Add an application and it asks you to spam everyone of your friends to add the app.
The word for this is hypocrisy.




"We are going to continue to work with them to make sure they understand the reality of the Internet.  A lot of these people don't have Ph.Ds, and they don't have a degree in computer science." -- RIM co-CEO Michael Lazaridis











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