Australia takes spamming very seriously. And it matters not whether the parties involved are large or small.
Two months ago, the Australian Communications and Media Authority issued two infringement notices to the value of $110,000 to Optus Networks for allegedly sending electronic messages without accurate sender identification, in contravention of the Spam Act 2003.
That penalty is the second highest on record to date for alleged breaches of the Spam Act. Optus Networks is the Australian-based subsidiary of Singtel Optus Pty Ltd, a major telecommunications provider in the Asia-Pacific region.
The Spam Act 2003 regulates unsolicited commercial electronic messaging in Australia. Commercial electronic messages can be emails, SMS messages, MMS messages, instant messaging messages or any other similar messages.
The Act sets outs that commercial electronic messages must have the following features:
1. Consent – it must be sent with the recipient’s consent
2. Identify – it must contain clear and accurate information about the person or organisation that authorised the sending of the message; and
3. Unsubscribe – it must contain a functional ‘unsubscribe’ facility to allow the recipient to opt out from receiving messages from that source in the future.
The penalty provisions of Spam Act 2003 came into force in 2004. At that time, based on ACMA’s studies, Australia was tenth in the ranking of spam-relaying countries for email spam. For the 2007 calendar year, Australia had fallen to 35th.