Russian minister declares spam war on American school

A Russian minister launched an automated telephone attack on an American language school in Moscow because they kept sending him spam

A Russian minister was so annoyed by the amount of spam he received from an English-language school, he decided to fight back -- with 1,000 automated phone calls.

According to the Moscow Times, the deputy communications minister, Andrei Korotkov, who is overseeing an effort to help the Russian government become more efficient by using Internet technologies, was receiving 40 emails a day from the American Language Center, an English-teaching college based in Moscow.

Korotkov reportedly asked the organisation to stop sending him emails because he was fluent in English, but instead, his email address started receiving significantly more spam, this time addressing him by name.

"They wanted to joke us around, so we decided to joke them around, too," Korotkov told the paper, after he responded by setting up an automated telephone-calling machine that called the American Language Center 1,000 times in one morning. Whenever the phone was answered, a recorded message from the minister told staff that they should cease their "illegal activities" otherwise he would "make your life complicated".

"Once again, I implore you, stop these illegal activities and think of some legal ways to achieve your goals," the message concluded, before the automated system hung up, and then immediately called back.

The school allegedly responded to its useless phone system by emailing its users with a message that stated: "Unfortunately our telephones have been blocked, please contact us via the ICQ [Internet-based messaging system]."

Kolesnikov was reported as saying he had no plans to launch another automated phone call attack.


For everything Internet-related, from the latest legal and policy-related news, to domain name updates, see ZDNet UK's Internet News Section.

Let the editors know what you think in the Mailroom.