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CommSec Agreed to Pay $55,000 for Sending Spam

According to the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), CommSec (the stock trading arm of the Commonwealth Bank) has agreed to take necessary action to correct the problem emerged due to no option of "unsubscribe" in e-mails. The security subsidiary has been punished to pay a fine of $55,000 for breaching the Spam Act.

The problem arise when CommSec launched e-mail campaigns in the months of January, February and March last year (2009) but the e-mail campaigns didn't have the option of "unsubscribe." Customers brought this fallacity to the notice of ACMA, which ordered for probe.

Customers also alleged that the investment and securities subsidiary continued to send e-mails to them although they had withdrawn their consent from receiving the e-mails. This was clear violation of the Spam Act.

Chris Chapman, ACMA Chairman, said that the Australian businesses should take a note of the present case outcome seriously, as reported by smh on February 1, 2010.

Chapman further added that the Spam Act empowered computer users to unsubscribe from getting commercial e-mails and the request should be treated effectively and quickly. If businesses failed to comply with the request or breached the Act, then they would face significant penalties.

The Spam Act also gives the right to users that they could unsubscribe from receiving commercial electronic messages.

Chapman also said that the investigation had made CommSec to take stringent reviews of systems and processes. It also demonstrated a commitment to make essential internal changes in order to accord with the requirements of the Spam Act, as reported by zdnet on February 1, 2010.

According to the implementation plan sanctioned by the ACMA, CommSec will hire an independent consultant to scrutinize the investment. The plan also includes a condition that it will conduct quarterly audits of e-mail campaigns for twelve months and introduce training programs to avoid such kind of violations.

Security experts have commented that sending of e-mail messages could have a negative impact on the company's image. If the company's marketing policies are considered deceptive or questionable, the attempt to catch attention of new customers can backfire.

In October 2009, Vodafone Hutchison Australia (VHA) gave a voluntary payment of of $110,00 to ACMA for violating the Spam Act 2003.

Related article: Changes to Existing Cybercrime Laws in Minnesota

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