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Date Posted: 05:58:02 10/10/03 Fri
Author: Bummer
Subject: MPs' eyes on their inboxes for spam

MPs' eyes on their inboxes for spam
By Selina Mitchell
October 10, 2003

OUR federal representatives are doing their best to rid Australian inboxes of junk email - for their own benefit as much as anyone else's.

Opposition consumer spokesman Alan Griffin told Parliament he had received four emails about Viagra in one day, and colleague Michael Hatton was even spammed by his party, which was "not the way to go".

A bill to ban spam, or unsolicited email, passed the House of Representatives yesterday, but even if it makes it through the Senate, the Government admits it will not completely rid us of the phenomenon.

About half of the emails sent across the globe are unsolicited junk, and much of its content relates to porn, financial scams and pyramid schemes.

While the legislation will ban the sending of spam from Australian sources, it does not cover the masses of spam originating from overseas.

If the bill passes the Senate in its current form it will give the Australian Communications Authority, which already polices internet content, the power to investigate individuals and businesses who send spam.

The authority will be able to issue formal warnings, seek injunctions and obtain warrants to investigate spammers.

Software used to trawl the internet to find email addresses and generate address lists will be banned, and spammers fined up to $1.1 million a day.

But some will be exempt from the spam ban, including political parties, churches and charities.

The bills move to the Senate next week, where Labor and minor parties hope to force some changes.

The legislation is based on an opt-in regime - it will ban unsolicited commercial email without the prior consent of the receiver, unless there is an existing customer-business relationship.

The Australian

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