June 24, 2004
Crime and Punishment

According to the paper, AOL Tech Support Engineer Jason Smathers sold about 93 million addresses of AOL customers to a spammer. For this crime he'll get up to 5 years in prison, and pay up to $250,000.
But I was always told the punishment should fit the crime. I believe, like the school teachers of old, we should make Jason do the equivalent of writing on the blackboard "I will not sell email addresses to spammers."
He should apologize to everyone who had their email sold. Individually and personally (Sorry, Buzz, no ActiveWords to help him out). If he were to type:

To: Customer@aol.com
Dear Customer,
I am sorry I sold your email to spammers. It will never happen again.
Sincerely,

Jason Smathers

to each person, it would take him about 566 years of 24 hour days to do it. See calculation below. Perhaps that would deter some others who do similar things, as opposed to the current Can-SPAM legislation which is doing nothing.

So, Jason, get typing, because 566 years is a long time.

Average email length 10
"@aol.com" 8
Dear 10CharName, 16
I apologize for selling your name
to spammers. It will never happen again.
Sincerely,
Jason Smathers 123
Total number of words in the above 157
Assume typing 60 words per minute 60
Time to Type email 2.62
Time to open, address, tab and hit
send to send the mail 0.5
Total aprox time to send email in minutes 3.2
Number of Minutes in an Hour 60
Number of emails per hour 18.75
Number of email addresses sold 93,000,000.00
Number of hours it would take to write apology 4,960,000.00
Translated to 24 hour days 206,666.67
In years 566.21
Posted by Howard at 09:37 AM