The ACMA

e-security

Spam

Software problems result in Spam Act formal warning

The Australian Communications and Media Authority has issued a formal warning to IGEA Life Sciences for breaches of the Spam Act after an investigation found that marketing emails were sent without the consent of recipients.

The company, which promotes BodyTrim, Skin Physics and David Babaii health and wellness products, experienced a number of problems when migrating to a new e-marketing platform. A failure to check that the software was working properly caused some consumers to receive marketing emails after requesting to be unsubscribed.

The ACMA’s most recent e-marketing blog discusses the importance of proper planning and testing when changing software systems used for e-marketing. The e-marketing blog – ‘Successful e-marketing…it’s about reputation’ – emphasises that e-marketing to recipients who do not want to receive your messages is not a successful business strategy. To sign up for the blog, go to http://www.acma.gov.au/emarketingblog.

If you receive a marketing email that you think may not comply with the Spam Act, you can report it to the ACMA by forwarding the message to report@submit.spam.acma.gov.au. You can forward SMS spam to 0429 999 888.

For more information please see backgrounder below, or to arrange an interview, please contact: Blake Murdoch, on (02) 9334 7817, 0434 567 391 or media@acma.gov.au

Media release 38/2014 - 22 July

Backgrounder

The Spam Act 2003 regulates unsolicited commercial electronic messages in Australia. Commercial electronic messages can be sent by email, SMS, MMS, instant messaging or other means.

The Act sets out that commercial electronic messages must have the following features:

>      Consent – it must be sent with the recipient’s consent. They may give express consent, or consent may be inferred from their conduct and ‘existing business or other relationships’

>      Identify – it must contain clear and accurate information about the person or organisation that authorised the sending of the message

>      Unsubscribe – it must contain a functional ‘unsubscribe’ facility to allow the recipient to opt out from receiving messages from that source in the future.

The Act provides a range of enforcement options and the ACMA determines an appropriate action on a case-by-case basis. Formal warnings are used by the ACMA to indicate concerns about alleged contraventions and allow for the business or individual to take compliance action to prevent any future contraventions.

Enforceable undertakings can be offered to the ACMA at any time and provide the opportunity for a business or individual to formalise its commitment to compliance with the Spam Act. The ACMA may also give an infringement notice in relation to particular civil penalty provisions. In addition, the ACMA can lodge proceedings in the Federal Court, including seeking an injunction. The legislation sets out penalties of up to $1.7 million a day for repeat corporate offenders.

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Making communications and media work in Australia’s public interest. acma.gov.au

Last updated: 22 July 2014

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