There are now about 20 percent fewer spam e-mails hitting your inbox, thanks to efforts from the Russian government. Russian authorities this week cracked down on suspected spam kingpin Igor A. Gusev, according to The New York Times.
Moscow police said the 31-year-old, who by now has fled the country, was a central figure in the operations of SpamIt.com, a website that paid spammers to promote online pharmacies. SpamIt.com suddenly stopped operating on September 27 and Gusev's house was raided this week. His illegal spam network helped earn his partner company $120 million. With less financial incentive to send their junk mail, spammers reduced their activity by an estimated 50 billion messages a day.
Gusev and SpamIt.com had both been operating openly in Moscow for several years until Russia decided enough was enough. There are still 200 billion unwanted e-mails sent off every day, but cutting the world's spam by one fifth is a great start. Unfortunately, taking history into account, we wouldn't be surprised if that number went back up in a few weeks; the SpamIt.com website will simply be replaced.
In the meantime, Russia has opened a criminal case against Gusev for flooding the Internet with advertisements for Viagra, operating a pharmacy without a license, and operating a business without registration. This is unprecedented in Russia, since the country is known as a haven for spammers, but Western partners are pressuring the country to clamp down on abuse of the Internet.