Talk:New Zealand's anti-spam legislation kicks in – exclusive report
Do you believe this law will really help combat spam coming out from New Zealand? What are the benefits?
This new legislation will help combat spam coming out from New Zealand but alone it will not solve the spam problem (especially as 99% of spam received in NZ originates from overseas).
The Unsolicited Electronic Messages Act 2007 is part of a five-pronged approach to tackle spam in NZ. This includes:
* Promoting spam education and awareness * Facilitating industry liaison * Monitoring emerging technologies * Working with international agencies.
The Act will enable us to fight New Zealand-sourced spam and enter into international agreements concerning international enforcement of anti-spam legislation, sharing information between national enforcement agencies, and the pursuit of cross-border complaints concerning spam.
The legislation will also help to prevent New Zealand becoming a haven for spammers and promote good e-marketing practice within New Zealand.
How will this effect legit marketers in New Zealand?
Marketers in New Zealand will need ensure they meet the requirements of the Unsolicited Electronic Messages Act 2007. This means ensuring they: send commercial electronic messages only to people who have consented to receiving them; identify the business responsible for sending the message and how they can be contacted; include a free unsubscribe facility.
However, many marketers are already fufilling these requirements because they are standard good e-marketing practice.
The biggest impact will be on those organisations who have 'legacy' databases where the people listed have never actually given consent to receive electronic messages. They may have been sending these people messages for years, but this does not establish consent. Organisations have to contact their customers prior to September 5 asking them to opt in should they wish to continue receiving the messages.
The Marketing Association have been actively promoting best marketing practice for some time now and have various guides available from their own web site at www.marketing.org.nz
What is required of marketers so they fall inside the law when sending e-mails, etc?
There are three steps to follow. As discussed in more detail above these are 1) consent, 2) identify, 3) unsubscribe. There is also more detail in our business guide (plus examples) at http://www.antispam.govt.nz/Pubforms.nsf/URL/BusinessGuide.pdf/$file/BusinessGuide.pdf
Here are the questions I would like you to answer for the anti-spam legislation set to kick in on the fifth of September.
What role, if any, did you play in the anti-spam legislation?
InternetNZ lobbied for legislation to be introduced from about 2003, and the two major people involved were myself and Pegasus Mail creator David Harris. We held two public seminars on proposed spam legislation, and had significant input into the bill. We also proposed some enhancement to the select committee, almost all of which were reflected in the final law.
What are the penalties for those who break the law, either willingly or unwillingly? Will is be easy to track down and prosecute offenders?
The maximum penalties are $200,000 for individuals and $500,000 for organizations. These would only apply to deliberate repeat spammers. Experience from Australia shows most cases are dealt with by way of education.
NZ based spammers are fairly easy to track down. Overseas spammers who make up 99.9% of spam are more difficult to track down, but now we have an enforcement agency we will be able to work with other enforcement agencies in trying to track the worst offenders down.
How much spam will this effect?
The overall level of spam will not be affected by the law change. It will however stop spammers from moving operations to NZ, and as I said allow for international agencies to target the worst overseas spammers.
What other countries have similar legislation, how does our legislation compare to theirs, and do you advocate other countries bring in similar legislation that have not already?
We are in fact almost the last country in the OECD to have such legislation. It is important other countries, especially Eastern Europe and China, introduce similar legislation.
Do you have any tips for e-mail users wishing to receive less spam?
Never ever respond to a spam e-mail, and only give your real address out to people you trust.