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ACMA wins first SMS spam case

ACMA wins first SMS spam case

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has been successful in its first SMS spam case before the Federal Court. The matter relates to the sending of unsolicited commercial SMS…

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has been successful in its first SMS spam case before the Federal Court.

The matter relates to the sending of unsolicited commercial SMS messages. ACMA has obtained injunctions and declarations against a number of parties involved.

Justice Logan gave default judgment against five respondents concerning breaches of the Spam Act 2003.

"This is the first SMS spam case that ACMA has brought before the courts," said Chris Chapman, Chairman of ACMA. "The significant resources that ACMA has put into this matter again demonstrates our commitment to protecting Australians against illegal conduct."

ACMA instituted proceedings against eight respondents in the Federal Court in Brisbane in December 2008 alleging contraventions of the Spam Act 2003 and the Trade Practices Act 1974 in relation to premium SMS chat services. It alleged that the respondents were engaged in a complicated scheme to obtain mobile phone numbers from members of dating websites, using fake member profiles, in order to send commercial electronic messages by SMS.

Unsolicited messages were then sent to those mobile phone numbers, offering the opportunity to chat via SMS using services described as the "Safe Divert" or "Maybemeet" services. In delivering his judgment, Justice Logan noted that the conduct alleged disclosed "sustained and systemic violation of statutory prohibitions rather than a mere isolated aberration".

A hearing as to penalty is pending against the five aforementioned respondents.

The judgment was released 14 August. A further hearing is scheduled to commence on 30 November against the remaining three respondents.

The ACMA also successfully pursued Telstra for making unsolicited calls earlier this week, forcing the Telco to pay $101,200 in fines after an investigation revealed that one of its external call centres in Australia made telemarketing calls to numbers listed on the Do Not Call Register (the Register).

Telstra has also entered into a wide-ranging enforceable undertaking with the ACMA, which includes the appointment of an external consultant to review Telstra's systems and procedures for compliance with the Do Not Call Register Act 2006 (the Act).

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