ACMA takes alleged SMS spammers to court

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ACMA takes alleged SMS spammers to court

In a local first, the Australian Communications and Media Authority said it has commenced proceedings in the Federal Court in Brisbane against several companies over unsolicited SMS spam.

ACMA alleges that Mobilegate Ltd, Winning Bid Pty Ltd and International Machinery Parts Pty Ltd (now deregistered) sent or caused unsolicited SMS messages to be sent to Australian mobile telephone numbers via premium rate telephone shortcode.

The messages allegedly promoted a service known as ‘Safe Divert,’ which was marketed as a text relay message service, and a service called ‘Maybemeet’.

It is also alleged the accused companies used ‘fabricated dating website profiles to dishonestly obtain a financial advantage or gain from Australian mobile telephone account holders’.

ACMA also alleges that misleading or deceptive representations were made to members of dating websites in contravention of the Trade Practices Act 1974.

These representations were designed to entice the recipient to reply to SMS messages at a cost of up to five dollars per message, according to ACMA.

ACMA further alleges that Mobilegate and Winning Bid sent or caused unsolicited SMS messages to be sent to Australian mobile telephone numbers offering to supply a fantasy chat service known as ‘Singles Club’, ’AU Singles’ or ‘Australian Singles Online,’ also at a cost of up to five dollars per message.

ACMA said it is ‘seeking declarations, injunctions, penalties and other orders’, including ‘interim injunctions restraining the respondents from engaging in the alleged conduct’.

Mobilegate is a company incorporated in Hong Kong.

A directions hearing in the Brisbane Federal Court has been set for 6 February 2009.
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