EMX reaches $10,000 SMS spam settlement with ACMA

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EMX reaches $10,000 SMS spam settlement with ACMA

A small Sydney-based firm will pay a $10,000 ‘settlement’ to the Australian Communications and Media Authority for allegedly spamming numbers it had rented as a list from a commercial brokerage.

The settlement is part of an ‘enforceable undertaking’ between the firm, EMX, and the industry regulator.

The money is to be paid in five $2,000 installments no later than 30th March this year, according to notes in the undertaking .

EMX, which is controlled by a sole director and employs just two part-time and contract staff, will also initiate a training, audit and reporting regime among other preventive measures.

It is alleged by ACMA that SMS messages sent by EMX to Australian mobile phone users offered products such as chat services, auctions and prizes without providing clear and accurate information about the identity of the sender.

However, EMX appears to blame a third party list brokerage for the alleged breach.

“During the period of investigation EMX purchased a list of numbers from a commercial provider which asserted that it had obtained the consent of mobile telephone account holders to receive messages,” said the firm.

“EMX notes that it purchased this list in good faith.”

ACMA allegedly received four complaints from account holders claiming that the messages had been sent without their consent, and did not contain a properly functioning unsubscribe facility and/or proper sender identification.

The enforceable undertaking is only the second such agreement to be made between ACMA and a firm accused of breaching the Spam Act in 2008, and the ninth since October 2004. The remaining breaches resulted either in formal warnings or fines.

Acting ACMA Chairman, Chris Cheah, defended the use of the tool.

“Accepting an enforceable undertaking is one of the enforcement tools available to ACMA under the Spam Act,” said Cheah.

“Undertakings can provide an excellent opportunity for businesses to demonstrate their commitment to compliance.”

Late last year, premium SMS provider Hyarchis became one of the first to openly criticise the enforcement option selected by the regulator to punish it for alleged SMS spam breaches.

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