A spam-free New Year?

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Australia's new spam legislation will come into effect mid April next year, with a 'grace period' put in place to allow businesses to modify their practices.

The Spam Act comes into force on 11 April 2004, according to a statement issued by Daryl Williams, Minister for Communications, IT and the Arts.

“Those who persist in sending spam will find themselves subject to penalties up to $1.1 million for a single day of infringements from 11 April next year,” said the statement from Williams' office.

Under the new spam legislation, it will become illegal to send unsolicited electronic messages that have an Australian link. This includes messages sent by mobile phones, as well as email, it stated.

Currently the Australian Communications Authority (ACA) is developing supporting industry codes and practices, in conjunction with ISPs and online marketing companies. The communications watchdog will be responsible for handling complaints about spam, and enforcing the penalties once they come into effect.

However, the statement from Williams' office added that enforcement of Australia's spam legislation against overseas spammers would be dependent on the cooperation of other jurisdictions.

“Australia recently signed an agreement with the Korean Information Security Agency to cooperate on spam issues,” it stated. “Australia will also attend the OECD workshop on spam in February 2004, which will discuss the potential for international cooperative efforts and multilateral arrangements to combat spam.”

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