Editor’s status update: schadenfreude

This is a “news feed” for Facebook Friends of Adam Guerbuez: poke this scummy spammer and let him know he owes the social networking site US$873 million - the largest award ever under the U.S. federal CAN-SPAM Act.

Guerbuez, the now-notorious Montreal-based cyber pest who runs Atlantis Blue Capital and Ballervision.com, did not contest the case launched against him by Facebook Inc. mid-year, said The Associated Press.

So, if Guerbuez pops up on your “wall” anytime soon, tell him he’s been successfully sued for flooding Facebook users with dirty spams by weaseling his way into members’ personal profiles and contact information. Don’t give this guy a Facebook “hug.”

News reports say four million unwanted and offensive messages were sent to Facebookers touting a variety of sexual products and drugs during March and April.

The amount of the judgment ordered against Guerbuez by California U.S. District Judge Jeremy Fogel, is more than double the private company’s expected 2008 revenues of $250-300 million.

But according to an IT web site, the amount was high because Guerbuez was found to have illegally accessed the Facebook information to launch his junk mail scheme with methods that violated the act.

The award is likely more of a spammer disincentive than cash bonanza.
“Does Facebook expect to quickly collect $873 million and share the proceeds in some way with our users?

Alas, no,” blogged Facebook’s security director Max Kelly. “It’s unlikely that Guerbuez and Atlantis Blue Capital could ever honour the judgment rendered against them - though we will certainly collect everything we can.

But we are confident that this award represents a powerful deterrent to anyone and everyone who would seek to abuse Facebook and its users.”
Canada’s lack of anti-spam legislation  could also keep Facebook from collecting, some experts have said in news reports.

Meanwhile, that wasn’t the only web-related legal news last week.
A report authored by University of Windsor law professor Richard Moon urged the Canadian Human Rights Commission to stop policing Internet hate speech.

Moon said s.13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act, that allows the CHRC to probe online hate complaints, should be scrapped. Leave it to the cops to search cyberspace for mongers of hate, he said, noting the Criminal Code is well muscled to get the job done.

In his report he correctly said, “The censorship of hate speech should be limited to speech that explicitly or implicitly threatens, justifies, or advocates violence against the members of an identifiable group.”

Wrote Moon: “The Criminal Code hate speech provisions, and in particular section 319(2) and section 320.1, offer an effective response to hate speech while respecting the public and constitutional commitment to freedom of expression.”

Agreed. Now Moon is someone we’d like to send a cyber hug.
And, with that, it can be freely said: we don’t hate the fact that on top of the financial smackdown, Guerbuez is banned from Facebook.

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