Australian Anti-Spam Law Takes Toll

Ed Palomar
SYDNEY, Australia – Australia’s 2003 Spam Act is taking a toll on electronic junk mail. The anti-spam law has apparently resulted in the closure of major Aussie spammers of unsolicited cyberporn and ads for various mainstream products and services.

The Australian Communications Authority, or ACA, is responsible for enforcing the law. Violating Australia’s Spam Act 2003, as it is formally known, can result in fines in the thousands of dollars. Repeat offenders can face a prosecution penalty of $1.1 million Australian dollars per day. In U.S. dollars, this would be about $786,500 per day.

The ACA’s website contains information for consumers and businesses about compliance with the Spam Act, reducing the amount of spam users receive, boosting internet security, avoiding email scams, protecting children online, making a spam report or complaint and the steps the Australian government is taking to combat spam. The Authority’s URL is www.aca.gov.au.

Monitors have noted that since the law went into effect in April, a number of major bulk electronic junk mailers have halted operations in Australia. However, ACA has reportedly received 30,000 spam-related complaints since April, including 300 formal ones. The Authority has notified 100 businesses about compliance with the law, such as regarding their unsubscribe features. Four have reportedly been formally notified that they are under official investigation for violating Spam Act 2003.

The ACA site notes that its immediate focus is on spam of Australian origin, plus spam that sells Aussie products. However, up to 98 percent of the electronic junk mail Australians receive via the Internet is emailed by spammers located outside of Australia. Nevertheless, ACA is also collecting reports of spam from overseas.

According to the Authority’s website, these “reports will help the ACA to identify patterns of spamming activities affecting Australia, and will assist cooperative efforts on an international scale against spam. The ACA is using these international spam reports for forensic analysis, and is sharing this intelligence with overseas agencies.”

As part of its effort to counter global spam, ACA also participated in an International TeleCommunications Union conference in July at Geneva, Switzerland, which was attended by government and private sector representatives from many nations.