This one nearly escaped my radar, and does not seem to have ruffled many news source feathers either. Which is surprising, because in my never humble opinion it is actually quite an important bit of news. The Virginia Court of Appeals has upheld the conviction of Jeremy Jaynes (the 8th most prolific spammer according to Spamhaus at the time of the arrest) who, way back in November 2004, was the first person in the US to get jail time for spamming. Indeed, on the double spammy whammy of distributing bulk email of ‘disguised origin’ and possessing a stolen database of some 84 million AOL subscriber details, Jaynes was sentenced to 9 years.

Of course, this did not stop his attorneys from appealing despite not actually arguing about the facts of the case. Instead, the appeals went ahead based on the somewhat spurious argument that the law that convicted Jaynes was ‘unconstitutionally vague’ which is a new one on me. Unfortunately, and rather sadly I feel, both the American Civil Liberties Union and the US Internet Service Provider Association filed what are known as ‘friend-of-the-court briefs’ in favor of the appeal!
Thankfully, the court panel disagreed with this, as well as the other grounds for appeal that included Virginia lacking jurisdiction over the matter because the emails were sent from the Jaynes home in North Carolina. The AOL servers that the spam was routed through, however, are firmly stuck in Loudon County, Virginia and the court saw enough sense to argue that there were plenty of cases where the right to charge people where the damage resulted, rather than the crime committed, were upheld.

Personally, I am glad that the Virginia Anti-Spam Act has not had its lid ripped off by this appeal, but rather the spammers given a harsh warning that the legal tide may be turning…

As Editorial Director and Managing Analyst with IT Security Thing I am putting more than two decades of consulting experience into providing opinionated insight regarding the security threat landscape for IT security professionals. As an Editorial Fellow with Dennis Publishing, I bring more than two decades of writing experience across the technology industry into publications such as Alphr, IT Pro and (in good old fashioned print) PC Pro. I also write for SC Magazine UK and Infosecurity, as well as The Times and Sunday Times newspapers. Along the way I have been honoured with a Technology Journalist of the Year award, and three Information Security Journalist of the Year awards. Most humbling, though, was the Enigma Award for 'lifetime contribution to IT security journalism' bestowed on me in 2011.

The Virginia Court of Appeals has upheld the conviction of Jeremy Jaynes (the 8th most prolific spammer according to Spamhaus at the time of the arrest) who, way back in November 2004, was the first person in the US to get jail time for spamming. Indeed, on the double spammy whammy of distributing bulk email of ‘disguised origin’ and possessing a stolen database of some 84 million AOL subscriber details, Jaynes was sentenced to 9 years.

I read and heard of this a few years back. He did more than just spamming. I think it was Grand Larceny & Felony Theft . These are serious charges.

The article starter has earned a lot of community kudos, and such articles offer a bounty for quality replies.