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Re: "Junk E-Mail"

On Mon, 20 Nov 1995 [email protected] wrote:

> I think it would be better to slap a RICO suit onto the company
> concerned. It sound to me like an attempt to gain financial advantage
> through threatening behaviour. Where I come from that means jail time. 

RICO is very serious stuff.  Criminal prosecution under the terms of the
Racketeer-Influenced & Corrupt Organizations Act is reserved for very
serious situations indeed.  It's true "rubber hose" stuff. 

It was intended as a tool for use against mobsters, but US attorneys have
used it against white-collar criminals.  I think, you'd have to have
strong evidence of an ongoing "criminal enterprise", which I don't think
you have with junk e-mail. 

I doubt that there are many experts in RICO as it applies to computer law. 

I really don't know if the laws pertaining to breaches of computer
security would be applicable, or not, or how RICO really does work or fit. 
Although the armchair solicitor in me might speculate that you'd have to
show some form of organized collusion or somesuch to breach computer or
network integrity to prosecute under RICO.  And you'd have to show -- I'm
uncertain if the standard is beyond a reasonable doubt or not -- that it
was at some point willful and well-organized. 

I suppose that is a moot point though, when we're talking about pre-trial
forfeiture of all assets -- right down to the food in the refrigerator.  I
doubt at that point that a trial would be forthcoming.  It really does
reinforce the maxim, that it's best not to fight a battle that you cannot

RICO is very persuasive that way. 

I'm certain that there will be those who would say that it's not
administratively possible to apply RICO to this situation.  Most legal
advisers would probably say that it can't be done, but I suppose then,
that would be the time for the clarion call, "Then get me a lawyer who
says it CAN be done." 

Personally, however, I'm unconvinced, and would defer to those much more
knowledgable in such matters.  

Although, in all honesty, RICO and computer networks in the same sentence
literally scares the be-jeebers outta me. 

Alice de 'nonymous ...

                                  ...just another one of those...

P.S.  This post is in the public domain.
                  C.  S.  U.  M.  O.  C.  L.  U.  N.  E.