Australian Regulator Sues Text Spammers For First Time


The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) is taking SMS-spammers to court, the first time it has taken court action against mobile text spammers. The companies charged are based in Hong Kong — Mobilegate Limited, Winning Bid Pty Ltd, Jobspy Ltd and also associated individuals — and promoted services like “Safe Divert” (a relay message service), “Maybemeet”, and a fantasy chat services known as Singles Club, AU Singles, or Australian Singles Online. It’s free to receive text messages in Australia, but anyone responding to the messages was charged at $5 a message. The ACMA is going after the companies with the Spam Act 2003 and the Trade Practices Act 1974, the latter for misleading or deceptive representations reports ITWire.

This comes just after AT&T (NYSE: T) was criticized for text-spamming its customers with American Idol messages — NYT reports that the telco is now claiming messages were sent to 2 million people, or 3 percent of its customer base. It previously said that messages had been sent to a “significant number” of its customers…I suppose technically a single customers could be considered “significant”, but it’s really removing any meaning from the word in this context. It also said the messages couldn’t be classified as spam because they were free to receive — which is a change in the definition of spam. Mind you, I also have to take issue with the CIO for Spamhaus saying: “People who received it didn


James Quintana Pearce

I would say unsolicited + bulk + random is the definition of spam, and I agree that AT&T's effort was spam. But Spamhaus' quote merely put it as an unsolicited message (although I recognize things can get lost in reporting, and the sentence may have been in the context of a larger statement). I think you're also going to have to define "unsolicited" … what's your stance on prior relationship? In this case the message was sent to people without a prior relationship to Idol, and that's spam.

James Senase

Odd comment in this piece: <quote>I also have to take issue with the CIO for Spamhaus saying: “People who received it didn’t ask for it. That’s the universal definition of spam.” Not every message you receive that you didn’t ask for is spam.</quote>

Do you honestly receive emails that you didn’t ask for and which have been bulk sent to 2 million other people, that are NOT spam? Unsolicited+Bulk is the very definition of "spam". EVERY message you receive that has been sent to you unsolicited and bulk is spam.

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