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Anti-spam law passed by Parliament
Posted on 28-Feb-2007 08:50 by Juha | Tags Filed under: News

With only the two ACT MPs voting against, the New Zealand Parliament passed Information Technology Minister David Cunliffe's Unsolicited Electronic Messages Act 2007 yesterday.

The aim of the law is to prevent New Zealand from becoming a haven for spammers, as the country until now has had no legislation against spamming.

Minister Cunliffe says: "This legislation enables Kiwis to join the global fight against spam. International cooperation to identify, shut down or block the sources of spam is an important part our anti-spam strategy.

"Unsolicited commercial electronic messages, commonly known as spam, are estimated to make up around 80 per cent of all email traffic worldwide. Spam clogs networks, reduces productivity and is often used for scams and malicious cyber-attacks." An estimated ten per cent of spam comes from New Zealand, and the new law aims to put an end to this.

Under the new law, it's prohibited to use address-harvesting software or lists gleaned in that manner in conjunction with sending spam. Not only emails are targetted by the new law: instant messages and SMS texts are covered too.

A six month transition period before the new law takes effect gives organisations time to adjust their email systems to make sure that they comply with the new act. Promotional messages will only be allowed to be sent to people who have opted into to receive them. Messages must also have a clear and working unsubscribe mechanism.

The new law will come into effect from September 1 this year, giving the government's Department of Internal Affairs the ability to go after spammers located in New Zealand and prosecute them. Spammers face a maximum penalty of NZ$500,000 for organisations and $200,000 for individuals.

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