Feeds

Virginia de-convicts AOL junk mailer Jeremy Jaynes

Overturns anti-spam law, invokes Founding Fathers

High performance access to file storage

Notorious American AOL spammer Jeremy Jaynes had his nine year federal prison sentence overturned today, when Virginia's high court ruled the state's tough "anti-spam" law violates the First Amendment right to free speech.

The court unanimously agreed Virginia's anti-spam law is "unconstitutionally overbroad" because it bans all unsolicited bulk email with false or misleading originating addresses, both commercial and noncommercial.

The law considers unsolicited bulk email a felony if more than 10,000 recipients are mailed in a 24-hour period.

Justice Steven Agee wrote in today's ruling that the state law violates "the right to engage in anonymous speech, particularly anonymous political or religious speech" protected by the First Amendment.

Agee added that "were the Federalist Papers just being published today via e-mail, that transmission by PubliAus would violate the statute."

"Publius" was used as a pseudonym in 1787 and 1788 by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay to argue for ratification of the US Constitution.

Jaynes, a resident of North Carolina, was convicted in 2004 of three counts of junk email offenses by spamming tens of thousands of AOL users by means of a stolen database containing around 100 million addresses. He was once rated as the eighth worst spammer in the world by the anti-spam firm Spamhouse and is the first American to be convicted of a felony for sending unsolicited bulk email.

Because his spamming campaign flooded AOL's servers, Jaynes was prosecuted in Virginia, where the internet provider is headquartered.

In 2005, Jaynes was sentenced to nine years in prison under Virginia's anti-spam law. Prosecutors claimed Jaynes made nearly $24 million in sales from his spamming operation.

His conviction was affirmed by a Virginia Appeals Court decision in 2006 when it determined trespassing on private computer networks through intentional misrepresentation merited no First Amendment protection.

Virginia Attorney General Bob McDonnell told the AP he was disappointed the state Supreme Court overturned both previous rulings and said he would take the issue to the US Supreme Court.

Even if Virginia's anti-spam law is invalidated, Jaynes's commercial spam would still violate the federal CAN-SPAM Act. However, the law cannot apply to Jaynes because it was adopted after the emails in question were sent. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Obama allows NSA to exploit 0-days: report
If the spooks say they need it, they get it
Parent gabfest Mumsnet hit by SSL bug: My heart bleeds, grins hacker
Natter-board tells middle-class Britain to purée its passwords
Web data BLEEDOUT: Users to feel the pain as Heartbleed bug revealed
Vendors and ISPs have work to do updating firmware - if it's possible to fix this
OpenSSL Heartbleed: Bloody nose for open-source bleeding hearts
Bloke behind the cockup says not enough people are helping crucial crypto project
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Call of Duty 'fragged using OpenSSL's Heartbleed exploit'
So it begins ... or maybe not, says one analyst
Heartbleed exploit, inoculation, both released
File under 'this is going to hurt you more than it hurts me'
Experian subsidiary faces MEGA-PROBE for 'selling consumer data to fraudster'
US attorneys general roll up sleeves, snap on gloves
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.