Robert Alan Soloway, allegedly one of the world’s most prolific spammers, was arrested this week on a variety of charges including mail fraud, wire fraud, e-mail fraud, aggravated identity theft and money laundering. The potential jail time for all of the charges could be 20 years or more. The arrest of Soloway is good news for legitimate marketers, Internet Service Providers and other law-abiding e-mail users. However, no one should expect that the deluge of spam will be reduced by the arrest.
The arrest does have its benefits. First, this arrest provides positive news that authorities are taking the problems of unsolicited e-mail seriously. Second, arrests such as these often provide insight into the resources and connections that alleged spammers use to conduct their affairs. This can often lead to new arrests of conspirators. Finally, such news provides notice to other wrongdoers that authorities are capable of enforcing the laws on the books.
Bottom Line: Such arrests are unlikely to lead to reductions in the sheer volume of unsolicited e-mails for the average e-mail user. However, it is good news that law enforcement authorities are taking the problem of electronic torts seriously and using the legislative tools at their disposal to make arrests such as these.