Australia closing in on spammers

Australia closing in on spammers

Australia took a step closer to becoming the first nation to introduce anti –spam legislation, following the tabling of a Bill in the House of Representatives.

The Spam Bill 2003 sends a powerful message to local spammers, according to government officials. Under the legislation, spammers will be hit with penalties of up to $1.1 million for each day they send messages which break the law.

The legislation will directly challenge Australian-originated spam and is also expected to influence overseas spammers.

Australia’s commitment to taking a strong stand against spam is receiving international attention as other countries such as the US are considering similar anti-spam legislation.

Spam is now considered to be a major scourge to home and business email users, with spam estimated to comprise half of all email traffic on the internet.

In recognition of the severity of the problem, the financial penalties faced by spammers who fall foul of the new legislation will be equally severe. In the first instance, individuals will face fines of up to $44,000 for contraventions per day, with organisations to be fined up to $220,000. Repeat offenders will be penalised further, with individuals facing fines of up to $220,000, while organisations fined up to $1.1 million per day of spamming.

A healthy dose of common sense will be applied to the application of the legislation, with those who send spam accidentally not liable for fiscal punishment.

The Internet Industry Association (IIA) is also expected to announce a major locally driven global initiative soon, which will assist in combating spam.

The Minister for Communications, IT and the Arts, Senator Richard Alston, took time during the introduction of the Bill to pay tribute to the "substantial input from the community and industry in shaping the legislation."

The bill was outlined in two reports after extensive industry and public consultation, the end result is a solution aimed at making spam unprofitable while maintaining legitimate business communication channels.

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