E-mail, Soprano Style

Here's some recent news from Russia: On July 25, Vardan Kushnir age 35 was bludgeoned to death in his apartment in Moscow. Normally this would not be news: From January to May of this year alone there were 1,935 unsolved murders in Moscow. However, in this case, Vardan Kushnir was Moscow's premier spammer. No wonder Scott Richter got out of the spam game!

Apparently Vardan was selling some language courses, unrelentingly, with both text and HTML e-mails. And, according to Anton Nossik, a writer with, the Russian media has been having a field day with headlines such as "The Spammer Had It Coming," "Spam Is Deadly," "Ignoble Death Becomes Russia's Top Spammer," and "An Ultimate Solution to the Spam Problem."

According to Nossik, spamming is legal in Russia, with nothing like a Can-Spam law we have here. This lack of regulation has bred a vigilante mentality among anti-spam groups, who posted Vardan's personal information on the Web.

As a result of this unregulated spam use, ISPs routinely block e-mail with RU extensions globally, resulting in e-mail from legitimate senders in Russia being blocked and trashed without the recipient or the sender knowing of it. In a global business environment this could have grave consequences for the Russian economy.



This is a good reminder when we compare that to the situation we have here, where Can-Spam is working and technological solutions are keeping the problem at bay. It also highlights the dangers of vigilantism examples of which we have reported on in past weeks.

Regulation works. Technology works. Solutions set up to bombard Web sites with denial of service attacks, let alone other acts of vigilantism, might work for Tony Soprano, but shouldn't be considered for the rest of us.

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