Hehe.... odvratno jeste, ali nisam čuo skoro radosnije a bizarnije vesti.
Russian Media Hails Spammer’s Murder
Created: 26.07.2005 12:43 MSK (GMT +3)
Russia’s most (in)famous spammer, Vardan Kushnir, 35, was dead in his apartment in downtown Moscow on Monday, July 25. Someone repeatedly smashed his head with a heavy object, authorities say, and then ransacked his entire apartment. The authorities have obviously got no clue as to who that someone might have been.
And, as a matter of fact, they don’t seem to really care: every day between 10 and 20 people meet a violent death in Russia’s capital, and a significant part of those crimes remains unsolved (Russia’s Interior Ministry reports 1,935 unsolved murders, 73,000 burglaries and 11,400 robberies between January and May in this year alone). There is no reason for Moscow’s law enforcement officials to give Kushnir’s case any special treatment, so they most probably won’t. But the Moscow-based media is awash with comments and speculations, expounding one simple, albeit largely irrational, theory: someone (ranging from God almighty to an irate IT office worker) finally punished Vardan Kushnir for his seemingly unstoppable spamming activities.
Indeed, the deceased must have been the most hated person among 17.6 million Internet users in Russia, whom he continuously spammed over the last few years, sending out tons of email ads for his language courses. These feelings are shared by many among the 20 million Russian-speaking Internet users outside the country, whom he also plagued with unsolicited ads, both text and graphical: despite limiting its offers to Muscovites only, the American Language Center did send mail to locations as remote as California, Canada or the office network of the Weizmann Institute in Rehovot, in Israel.
Russian-language media, both online and offline, has made little effort to conceal one central thought when dealing with the spammer’s demise: that somehow the late Mr. Kushnir got what he deserved. “The Spammer Had it Coming”, one headline reads. “Spam is Deadly”, “Ignoble Death Becomes Russia’s Top Spammer”, “An Ultimate Solution to the Spam Problem” - 84 Russian-language news captions on Kushnir’s murder, retrieved by the Yandex News search engine within a day of the event, seem to share the general feeling.
This jubilation is largely due to the fact that spamming is as good as legal in Russia. Not only because of local lawmakers’ general ignorance in IT issues, but also due to the executive branches’ reluctance to act upon laws already in effect. Specific antispam legislation hasn’t been enacted in Russia yet, but there are at least three articles in Russia’s Criminal Code dealing with computer crime — database tampering, unauthorized access to protected systems and networks, creation and dissemination of harmful software — which could be used in specific cases to deal with particular spam attacks, to track, charge and indict at least those who send out viruses, hack corporate mailservers or use stolen proprietary email databases for spamming purposes.
Likewise, there are laws in Russia, regulating the dissemination and content of ads, and local spammers have never bothered to comply. Unfortunately, none of these laws has ever been enforced on spammers. Law enforcement officers happen to be the most typical representatives of Russian bureaucracy: unless they’re economically motivated by the plaintiff, or act on orders from the very top, they will use any pretext imaginable to avoid doing their duty. And in the case of spammers they are very successful in doing nothing.
In the particular case of Vardan Kushnir, the Internet community spared no effort to discrupt his activities, engaging help from all sorts of authorities. Kushnir’s personal data was posted webwide; the deputy minister of communications (himself the target of unsolicited language-learning ads) recorded a message, urging American Language Center to stop spamming, and Rambler, one of Russia’s biggest Internet holdings, set up a calling system in its office, that played the message non-stop to the ALC call-center operators and answering machines. Finally, a Moscow-based Internet lawyer Anton Sergo filed a formal complaint against Vardan Kushnir with the Antitrust Authority (in charge of the enforcement of ad laws). Kushnir failed to show up at any hearings, and administrative proceedings were started against him for non-compliance. Then the spammer promptly changed his mind and came to an antitrust hearing, claiming he had absolutely no idea who might be sending out all those innumerable ads for his business. The case was closed.
Given all this sad experience, and the constant increase in the number of unsolicited emails clogging Russia’s network traffic, one can easily imagine the feelings of a typical Russian Internet user, witnessing his very own and personal Inbox steadily reduced to another edition of a Trash folder. Joining the spamming industry in Russia is dirt cheap: any business can afford to mailbomb a million users for $100, and any individual can buy a software bundle, complete with mail address databases, starting from $20, to send out his CV, advertise his flat for rent, or sell a used car. Little wonder, that many spam-fighting tools, such as Spamcop, offer its users an option to ban any mail from the RU domain altogether, and thousands of Russian SMTP servers (including those of large ISP networks) occasionally make it to major international relay-blocking lists, due to spammers’ exploits. Which means that any mail originating from the Russian users of those servers gets trashed automatically, without notice to either the sender or the recipient.
It’s little wonder, then, that Vardan Kushnir became as popular a character among Russian-speaking Internet users, as Lord Voldemort must be among Hogwarts’ fans. And a tale of some anonymous ’Harry Potter’ paying him a private visit on a warm July morning produces quite a predictable sensation among the audience. Of course, everybody understands, that spam will not stop with Kushnir’s demise — it will persist for years to come, exactly the way Lord Voldemort finds his way back into the picture with every new installment of the Harry Potter saga. But this time, the magic wand has for once dealt a deadly blow to the arch-villain, and there seems to be no option left for the spectators, than to hail the magic.