On Little Green Footballs today, Charles Johnson writes about spambots sending a massive volume of unwanted emails to him.  It seems the spammer has taken over the computers of many people around the world.

The spammers have discovered that the Internet lets them scale up their crime.  Breaking into houses does not scale.  You have to do it one house at a time, and spend at least an hour or two including driving time.  But breaking into computers scales.  It’s possible to write a small computer program that can break into a computer.  Then you run that program on thousands of computers at the push of a button.

We don’t need new laws that create new categories of crimes.  We need enforcement of the existing ones.  So far as I know, fraud is illegal under existing statutes, as is breaking and entering, theft of services, and of course stealing information or causing any monetary damage.

Here’s a radical idea.  How about scaling up the punishment phase of criminal trials to match the scale of the crime itself.  How about convicting a spammer of 1,782,903 counts of fraud, tresspass, etc.?

Then the question becomes: “what do you do with a 1,782,903-time loser?”

I don’t think the answer is “slap him on the wrist.”


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