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Californians Michael Persaud, 24, of San Diego and Frank Kriticos, 25, of Santee will answer felony criminal charges of spamming and so earn the distinction of being the first people so charged in that state, according to a story in the local Union Tribune newspaper.

The men appeared in San Diego Superior Court earlier this week accused of sending a torrent of the vile pink matter to pitch house re-financing schemes.

The stunt brought down mail servers at Palo Alto tech outfit Veritools, which the pair allegedly commandeered.

It's not unusual for spammers to hack mail servers and to steal bandwidth from unsuspecting companies or use hacked ISP accounts to avoid detection.

Unfortunately, law enforcement organizations are obsessed with script kiddies defacing Web pages, because that practice advertises publicly the authorities' impotence in dealing with Net crime, and draws a good deal more ink from the media.

Spammers, who do more harm, have less to fear because their crimes are less obvious in the first place, and draw less media attention after the fact because they're not as sexy a topic as, say, viruses. Nevertheless, spam brings down corporate mail servers and ISPs every bit as effectively as a 'successful' e-mail worm -- indeed, more effectively in most cases, and far more frequently.

Nice to see the authorities in California finally figuring out the obvious. ®

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