Viagra spammer gets a rude shock

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has raided a residential premise in relation to allegations that the occupant had sent billions of unsolicited spam emails.

ACMA issued a search warrant after a tip-off from the Dutch Independent Regulator of Post and Telecommunications, OPTA.

"Preliminary analysis of the email messages contained in the spam campaign has identified that over two billion emails were sent in one spam campaign,' said Lyn Maddock, Acting ACMA Chair. "ACMA analysis to date has identified that the messages in the spam campaign primarily promoted Viagra products."

While the Viagra spam appears to have been sent from overseas, section 7 of the Spam Act 2003 makes it an offence for an Australian to be involved in the sending of spam if there is an 'Australian link'.

It is ACMA's intention to investigate whether there is tangible Australian link with this spam campaign. As the matter is still under investigation, ACMA would not confirm whether one or more people were involved.

The watchdog said penalties for contravention of the Spam Act can be up to $220,000 per day for first-time corporate offenders and up to $1.1 million per day for repeat offenders. Profits can also be forfeited and compensation paid to victims.

ACMA has already been successful in prosecuting spammers under the Spam Act, with Perth-based Clarity1 becoming the first company to be prosecuted in April this year.

In that case ACMA submitted to the Federal Court that, in the twelve months after the Spam Act commenced, Clarity1 and its managing director Wayne Mansfield, sent out at least 56 million unsolicited commercial emails.

Following that case the judge called on both ACMA and Mansfield's lawyers to submit penalty recommendations for Mansfield. These have yet to be decided upon by the court.

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