This month last year, New York State Attorney General Elliot Spitzer announced the arrest of Howard Carmack, a spammer operating in Buffalo.
Last month, a jury convicted the “Buffalo Spammer”, but not for spamming: he had stolen identities, falsified business records, and forged documents: the things that spammers tend to do. He was not charged with sending unsolicited mail. Maybe existing law can take care of spammers if the government, like Elliot Spitzer, has the courage to enforce it.
Last Thursday, Howard Carmack was sentenced to 7 years in prison (no press release available as I write this). Huzzah for good guys!
Curiously, reading about this case in online news sites, I ran into my constant frustration: news that does not reference anything. Most news sites are really just branded versions of Associated Press, United Press International, or Reuters, and add no value. Even those sites which do some of their own reporting rely on a wire service, and pass its stories directly into production with no changes. These sites should be able to add at least some value by linking to all of the relevant documents: for instance, the press releases from the Office of the Attorney General, which I had to find for myself. So much for the potential of hypertext.
The news is not about information, and everything about making money and shaping opinion. Letting people read the original documents for themselves would spoil that.