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Australian Spam Act Nails First Spammer

2005-06-23 00:00:00 UTC   |   by Steve Linford   |  
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The Australian Communications Authority (ACA) has taken action against a spammer in the first case to be brought under Australia's Spam Act.

Spammer Wayne Mansfield, listed in Spamhaus ROKSO database, is charged with sending at least 56 million commercial emails in twelve months after the Spam Act 2003 commenced in April 2004. Most of the messages are believed to have been unsolicited and in breach of the Act.

The ACA also alleges that Clarity1, which uses the trading names Business Seminars Australia and the Maverick Partnership, harvested some of the email addresses to which emails have been sent. It further alleges that Clarity1 Pty Ltd sent the emails from a network of servers around the world.

ACA Acting Chairman, Dr. Bob Horton, said that because of the scale of the alleged breaches, the ACA is seeking an interim injunction against Clarity1 to be in force until the court hearing.

Mr Mansfield and Business Seminars Australia are listed by UK-based international anti-spam watchdog, Spamhaus, as allegedly one of the world's top 200 spammers. The top 200 produce 80 per cent of the world's email spam.

Dr Horton said the ACA wrote to alleged Australian-based spammers on the Spamhaus list before the Spam Act commenced in April last year.

"We advised them that they were required to comply with the new Act," he said. "Spamhaus subsequently reported that several major Australian spammers on their list had stopped operating, or left the jurisdiction."

"However, this particular operation continues today allegedly in breach of the Act."

Penalties for contravention of the Spam Act can be up to $220,000 per day for first-time corporate offenders and up to $1.1 million per day for repeat offenders. Profits can also be forfeited and compensation paid to victims.

Dr. Horton said the reporting of spam emails by the public both in Australia and overseas had made a significant contribution to the investigation. The ACA had received complaints from as far away as the United Kingdom.

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