Microsoft GC Brad Smith sent an open letter to the cyber-world yesterday, touting Microsoft’s $7 million settlement with Scott “Spam King” Richter.
Mr. Smith notes what Microsoft plans to do with the part of the settlement:
After covering our legal expenses for the case, Microsoft will then reinvest every penny from this settlement. Weâ€™ll dedicate $5 million dollars to increase our Internet enforcement efforts and expand technical and investigative support to help law enforcement address computer-related crimes.
$2 million to catch one spammer? But perhaps not, read on:
In appreciation of the role of the New York Attorney General, another $1 million of this settlement money will be directed to New York state through Microsoft Unlimited Potential donations, which help community centers to expand computer-related skills training for youths and adults.
One presumes that MUP 101 will not be “Mass E-Mailing for Fun and Profit.”
Incredibly, Richter was alleged to have sent out as many as 38 billion spam messages a year. By my count, the settlement works out to a penalty of .018 cents per errant message. Not bad when it costs 23 cents to mail a postcard.
Mr. Smith gets off a good line when he notes:
This one legal victory will not end spam, but it is a relief to know that the magnitude of spam attacks need no longer be measured on this particular Richter scale.
No word whether Microsoft debated sending Mr. Smith’s message out in e-mail form to all users of its products.
A tip of the cap to Microsoft. In the long run, however, bringing one spammer to justice is like catching one mosquito. There’s probably a few others in the dark woods waiting to strike, particularly those in countries without laws like our CAN-SPAM.
Ultimately, there needs to be a system or software solution to the spamdemic. Hopefully Microsoft has as many engineers as it has lawyers working on the problem.