Sourced from smh.com.au
A Perth-based company has been fined $5.5 million for sending millions of unsolicited emails, with a judge labelling the spam annoying, costly to combat, and a threat to the internet.
It is the first time an Australian company has been fined under the the federal government’s spam laws, introduced in April 2004.
The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) last year launched the Federal Court action against business seminar advertiser Clarity1 Pty Ltd and director Wayne Robert Mansfield.
It is believed Clarity1 clogged inboxes with as many as 75 million emails between April 2004 and April 2006.
Earlier this year, the court found Clarity1, which also trades as Business Seminars Australia and Maverick Partnership, had contravened the Spam Act 2003.
Federal Court Justice Robert Nicholson on Friday fined Clarity1 $4.5 million and Mr Mansfield $1 million for those contraventions.
Justice Nicholson said it was impossible to calculate the amount of loss or damage caused by the emails.
The spam would have resulted in “real loss or damage to the recipients … in the form of direct financial costs associated with purchasing blocking and filtering software (and) other financial costs in the form of lost time and productivity … ” he said.
Justice Nicholson said he also accepted the emails had caused recipients “annoyance and frustration”.
“Such loss or damage is therefore an aggravating factor to be take into account,” he wrote in his reasons for the fine.
He said spam also posed a “threat to functionality of the internet”.
The company has also been banned from sending any unsolicited emails.
ACMA chairman Chris Chapman said the judgment provided a strong warning to Australian spammers.
Clarity1 and Mr Mansfield could not be reached for comment.