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Spam Act 2003

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Citation Edit

Commonwealth of Australia, Spam Act 2003 (Dec. 12, 2003).

Overview Edit

The Act came into effect on April 10, 2004.[1] It prohibits the sending of unsolicited commercial electronic messages and applies to messages sent by email, SMS, MMS, or IM. It also provides guidelines for sending legitimate commercial electronic messages.

The legislation targets spammers and the techniques they use to send Australian consumers unsolicited and offensive e-mail, while at the same time also protecting some rights to free speech.[2]

The Act provides civil and administrative powers to address the prohibition against sending unsolicited commercial email. The Act uses an opt-in system and requires that commercial electronic messages include accurate sender identification and a functional unsubscribe system. It also prohibits the use of address-harvesting software and harvested-address lists for spamming purposes. The Act applies to electronic messages of various kinds that have an "Australian link," and applies to even a single violating electronic message.

The law is enforced by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), which has investigatory powers and the power to levy fines and penalties. Spammers are subject to penalties of up to A$1.1 million per day for repeat corporate offenders. The Act provides that compensation can be paid to a victim or to the Commonwealth. Fines of up to A$220,000 are available for individuals.

The Act includes an exemption for Internet service providers (ISPs) that deliver spam. There is also an exemption for purely factual information, allowing vendors to send unsolicited newsletters that do not solicit the recipients' business. In the case of factual information, the legislation enforces an opt-out regime.

The Act has express provision for making and giving effect to international conventions. Australia has entered into international agreements with the U.K., the United States, Korea and Thailand.

References Edit

  1. Spam Act 2003 - Sect 2 Commencement (Austl.) (full-text).
  2. Spam Bill 2003 — Explanatory Memorandum (Austl. (full-text).

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