February 21, 2005 12:10 PM PST

U.S. makes first arrest for spim

A U.S teenager has become the first person to be arrested on suspicion of sending unsolicited instant messages--or spim.

Anthony Greco, 18, was lured from New York to Los Angeles under the pretence of a business meeting. He was arrested upon arrival at Los Angeles International Airport last Wednesday.

Greco allegedly sent 1.5 million messages advertising pornography and mortgages. According to reports, the recipients of the messages were all members of the MySpace.com online networking service.

In a further twist upon the scam, Greco had allegedly threatened to share his methods for spamming members of the group if MySpace.com didn't sign an exclusive marketing deal that would have legitimized the messages he was sending via the service.

Greco believed he was flying to Los Angeles to cement that agreement with MySpace President Tom Anderson.

MySpace.com launched IM for its members in December 2003. Reports claim Greco began spamming members using the service in autumn 2004.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian Hoffstadt confirmed the arrest was the first criminal case brought against an individual sending spam over IM. But he warned there may well be more to come.

"We're just beginning to get the tip of the iceberg. This could be a new wave as online communities start up," he said in a statement.

Experts have warned in recent years that spim will be the next area of development for those looking to further exploit access to users' desktops and bombard them with unwanted messages, but its growth has been slow.

The immediacy of instant messaging and its growing popularity with businesses and home users means spam via the medium could theoretically become even more obtrusive than email spam.

Will Sturgeon of Silicon.com reported from London.

146 comments

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You know what
I think SPAMMERS and SPIMMERS get what they deserve... they are no more than the next century snake oil salesman.
Posted by cashbo77 (7 comments )
Reply Link Flag
You know what
I think SPAMMERS and SPIMMERS get what they deserve... they are no more than the next century snake oil salesman.
Posted by cashbo77 (7 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Upset IM user
I am a user of not only Myspace.com but also AIM instant messenger and Yahoo messenger "Spim" is an on going problem with these programs. I hang out in chat rooms and talk to many people. I hate being bombarded by unwanted IM's. Thank the Gods that someone is going to start doing something about this.
Posted by (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Upset IM user
I am a user of not only Myspace.com but also AIM instant messenger and Yahoo messenger "Spim" is an on going problem with these programs. I hang out in chat rooms and talk to many people. I hate being bombarded by unwanted IM's. Thank the Gods that someone is going to start doing something about this.
Posted by (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
SPAM A CRIME?
Spam Is Simply Advertisement. I can understand MySpace Deleting accounts for it. But, how can somone be arrested for advertisement? I mean jeez...
*Sends a bagillion Rubber Ducky Condom advertisements out*
~The Law
"Go To Jail,
Do Not Pass Go
Do Not Collect 200 Dollars"
How gay? Its true no one wants to be spammed but doesn't mean you go off lockin people up for it.
Posted by (8 comments )
Reply Link Flag
SPAM A CRIME?
Spam Is Simply Advertisement. I can understand MySpace Deleting accounts for it. But, how can somone be arrested for advertisement? I mean jeez...
*Sends a bagillion Rubber Ducky Condom advertisements out*
~The Law
"Go To Jail,
Do Not Pass Go
Do Not Collect 200 Dollars"
How gay? Its true no one wants to be spammed but doesn't mean you go off lockin people up for it.
Posted by (8 comments )
Reply Link Flag
What the fuck!
How the **** can some English prick write a story about American Law and spam?! Go back go reporting your own law news.
Posted by (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
What the fuck!
How the **** can some English prick write a story about American Law and spam?! Go back go reporting your own law news.
Posted by (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Jail for Spam!
That is ridiculous, I have never spamed I have been spamed but that is freakin ridiculous to arrest someone for spaming! Especially someone 18 years old, so he started last year so he was 17? I have the government the way that they put young people in prison, especially for stupid stuff. They need to focus on more important things thats ridiculous! Im pissed. That crap about making it like a meeting and arresting him that is crap. I use myspace and that is sad...
Posted by (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Jail for Spam!
That is ridiculous, I have never spamed I have been spamed but that is freakin ridiculous to arrest someone for spaming! Especially someone 18 years old, so he started last year so he was 17? I have the government the way that they put young people in prison, especially for stupid stuff. They need to focus on more important things thats ridiculous! Im pissed. That crap about making it like a meeting and arresting him that is crap. I use myspace and that is sad...
Posted by (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Something not mentioned
I think the "porn" issue will become a hinge point in the trial. The required age to join MySpace.com is 17 years old. (im sure u can tell were im headed with this) The leagal age to veiw porn in the United States is 18 years old.

With that saidt...this guy, in effect, was soliciting unwanted advertisements of pornography to under-age children. That alone should be enough to put this guy away.
Posted by (8 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Something not mentioned
I think the "porn" issue will become a hinge point in the trial. The required age to join MySpace.com is 17 years old. (im sure u can tell were im headed with this) The leagal age to veiw porn in the United States is 18 years old.

With that saidt...this guy, in effect, was soliciting unwanted advertisements of pornography to under-age children. That alone should be enough to put this guy away.
Posted by (8 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Of course it should be a crime!
SPAM is different from other forms of advertising in the way it shifts the costs from the advertisers to the ISPs and everyone running the networks that have to transfer and filter this crap. If advertisers feel they actually have to use spam, then they should at least be forced to pay the costs for it.

The problem is that the technology allows someone to send out mass e-mail messages without a mechanism to demand payment. In a sense, it is like stealing because they don't pay the costs associated with their advertising. They force it on someone else. If that changes, then spam can be legal; after all, once they have to pay to do it, fewer people will be doing it.
Posted by (282 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Of course it should be a crime!
SPAM is different from other forms of advertising in the way it shifts the costs from the advertisers to the ISPs and everyone running the networks that have to transfer and filter this crap. If advertisers feel they actually have to use spam, then they should at least be forced to pay the costs for it.

The problem is that the technology allows someone to send out mass e-mail messages without a mechanism to demand payment. In a sense, it is like stealing because they don't pay the costs associated with their advertising. They force it on someone else. If that changes, then spam can be legal; after all, once they have to pay to do it, fewer people will be doing it.
Posted by (282 comments )
Reply Link Flag
SPAM
ITS ABOUT TIME PEOPLE ARE GETTING IN TROUBLE FOR DOING STUPID SPAM THINGS!!!!!! WOHOO, WHAT AN IDIOT FOR DOING THAT!!!!!!!!!!!
Posted by (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
SPAM
ITS ABOUT TIME PEOPLE ARE GETTING IN TROUBLE FOR DOING STUPID SPAM THINGS!!!!!! WOHOO, WHAT AN IDIOT FOR DOING THAT!!!!!!!!!!!
Posted by (2 comments )
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sweet
i like the fact that you are blocking spam because it is really annoying and i hate the ones with porn. i hate it when you try to open something or you are talking to someone and here comes a pop up of spam and of coarse its nasty porn. i wanted to say thank you.
good work and keep it up!! :D
Posted by (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
sweet
i like the fact that you are blocking spam because it is really annoying and i hate the ones with porn. i hate it when you try to open something or you are talking to someone and here comes a pop up of spam and of coarse its nasty porn. i wanted to say thank you.
good work and keep it up!! :D
Posted by (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
They aren't foolproof
Oh, right, and of course that always works. It never filters out things like emails/IM's that you actually want.
Posted by (12 comments )
Reply Link Flag
They aren't foolproof
Oh, right, and of course that always works. It never filters out things like emails/IM's that you actually want.
Posted by (12 comments )
Reply Link Flag
What an idiot
That guy actually thought he could get his solicitations authorized?! The network has users that are under 18, and I'm one of them. I actually got some porno mail through the network, it got annoying.
Posted by Luxornv (4 comments )
Reply Link Flag
What an idiot
That guy actually thought he could get his solicitations authorized?! The network has users that are under 18, and I'm one of them. I actually got some porno mail through the network, it got annoying.
Posted by Luxornv (4 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Yummie! I love Spam?
Every year we complain about the exporting of high-paying jobs overseas and the flow of imported low-income illegal aliens workers within our borders. People cant you see? -- U.S. small and medium sized companies are suffering. Our advertising options are getting destroyed.

People are sitting in front of their computers as television advertising is becoming a cheaper every year as people watch less and less television. In fact there is so many television channels to watch that advertising is like urinating in the ocean. Small businesses dont want to waste their money on non-effective advertising media. Sure, we have our American Idol, Survivor and Superbowl mega million-dollar advertising campaigns. These advertising alternatives fall short of the small and medium sized budgets of available to our small struggling businesses.

We have made phone soliciting virtually un-workable. Now we are arresting people who spam. Next year, there will probably be a new law about knocking on someones door& and well have to arrest the news paperboy or the Avon lady.

I dont agree with broadcasting pornography to children or strong-arming an unwanted or undesirable business deal. But, everyone knows that MySpace has had the reputation of being the best T&A show in town. As for Tom, he has opened his doors on MySpace for classified and small business ads, and for this he should be commended. In addition he has worked to keep his website proper and free of offensive our lewd adult material.

Nevertheless, I think we should learn to tolerate Internet advertising and the capitalistic people behind it. When we dealing with spam and unwanted emails we should be reminded that small business is the backbone of our country. Most jobs and employment opportunities stem from suffering small businesses. We are cutting our own legs off by forcing businesses to take alternative means for survival. We can complain now, but, any law the prohibits advertising is suicidal to our long-term financial futures.
Posted by mikeknox619 (4 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Yummie! I love Spam?
Every year we complain about the exporting of high-paying jobs overseas and the flow of imported low-income illegal aliens workers within our borders. People cant you see? -- U.S. small and medium sized companies are suffering. Our advertising options are getting destroyed.

People are sitting in front of their computers as television advertising is becoming a cheaper every year as people watch less and less television. In fact there is so many television channels to watch that advertising is like urinating in the ocean. Small businesses dont want to waste their money on non-effective advertising media. Sure, we have our American Idol, Survivor and Superbowl mega million-dollar advertising campaigns. These advertising alternatives fall short of the small and medium sized budgets of available to our small struggling businesses.

We have made phone soliciting virtually un-workable. Now we are arresting people who spam. Next year, there will probably be a new law about knocking on someones door& and well have to arrest the news paperboy or the Avon lady.

I dont agree with broadcasting pornography to children or strong-arming an unwanted or undesirable business deal. But, everyone knows that MySpace has had the reputation of being the best T&A show in town. As for Tom, he has opened his doors on MySpace for classified and small business ads, and for this he should be commended. In addition he has worked to keep his website proper and free of offensive our lewd adult material.

Nevertheless, I think we should learn to tolerate Internet advertising and the capitalistic people behind it. When we dealing with spam and unwanted emails we should be reminded that small business is the backbone of our country. Most jobs and employment opportunities stem from suffering small businesses. We are cutting our own legs off by forcing businesses to take alternative means for survival. We can complain now, but, any law the prohibits advertising is suicidal to our long-term financial futures.
Posted by mikeknox619 (4 comments )
Reply Link Flag
awesome story
what a dumby. he should know better than to me sending people porn over my space. that i just wrong.
Posted by (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
 

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