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Australian Anti-Spam Law Disappoints

by Mary Swire, for, Hong Kong

02 December 2003

Opposition members in the Australian Senate have joined forces to significantly water down anti-spam legislation, much to the annoyance of the government, which has vowed to reject the amendments when the bill returns to the lower house.

In its original state, the legislation had put forward a reasonably standard model, whereby customers would be required to 'opt in' in order to receive commercial e-mails, with the existence of a prior business relationship with a firm taken as an opt-in unless otherwise stated.

However, the amendments to the bill put in place by the opposition parties allow firms to send unsolicited e-mails to anyone that they think may be interested in their products and services, thus rendering the legislation effectively toothless.

Communications Minister, Daryl Williams called upon the opposition parties to pass the bill in its unamended form when it is bounced back to the Senate by the government-dominated lower house.

"This is a giant loophole that unscrupulous spammers could not have designed better themselves," he observed angrily.

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