Public education, ACMA, and anti-spamming

Public education, ACMA, and anti-spamming

We tip our hat to the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) for its relentless fight against spamming.

The ACMA is responsible for the regulation of the broadcasting, radiocommunications, internet, and telecommunications industry in Australia. With approximately 540 staff spread over its principal offices in Canberra, Melbourne, and Sydney, the organisation is not small.

I have followed the activities of the ACMA during the last 18 months or so, and noted the organisation has not minced any words so to speak in making public its findings. The government watchdog has pursued its charter with no regard to whether the delinquent parties are large or small organisations.

Prior to its latest win against companies allegedly involved in SMS spamming, the ACMA has pursued separate cases against some of Australia’s large businesses. Its chairman, Mr Chris Chapman, said in relation to those cases:

“The ACMA considers that well resourced companies should be compliance leaders. There is no excuse for them to fall short in their obligations under the Spam Act for SMS marketing campaigns.”

Two months ago, the ACMA won another big case against two additional respondents who were penalised $6.5 million by the Federal Court in Brisbane for being allegedly involved in SMS spamming. The penalties were in addition to the $22 million previously imposed by the same court on five other respondents. The court’s decision in that case proved to be a landmark decision.

Last month, the ACMA again scored a win against an Australia-based international spam gang leader who was also previously found guilty of spamming by United States and New Zealand courts. The amounts awarded to the ACMA may be small compared to the big scores of the ACMA’s US counterpart, the Federal Trade Commission, nevertheless the ACMA has been proving to all and sundry that it is an organisation that takes spamming very seriously.

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