Minister for Information Technology
Parliament has passed a new law to fight the avalanche of spam clogging Kiwi inboxes, says Information Technology Minister David Cunliffe.
The Unsolicited Electronic Messages Act 2007 aims to prevent New Zealand becoming a haven for spammers by prohibiting unsolicited commercial electronic messages and requiring senders of commercial electronic messages to include accurate sender information and a functional unsubscribe facility.
“This legislation enables Kiwis to join the global fight against spam,” Mr Cunliffe said. “International cooperation to identify, shut down or block the sources of spam is an important part our anti-spam strategy.
“Unsolicited commercial electronic messages, commonly known as spam, are estimated to make up around 80 per cent of all email traffic worldwide. Spam clogs networks, reduces productivity and is often used for scams and malicious cyber-attacks.”
The act prohibits persons from using address-harvesting software or a harvested-address list in connection with the sending of unsolicited commercial electronic messages.
It applies to all emails, texts and instant messages that market or promote goods, services, and other schemes of a commercial or dishonest nature.
“There is a six-month transition period before the law takes effect,” said Mr Cunliffe. “This will give organisations a reasonable period of time to ensure their email practices and databases comply with the act.
“This law is another important step towards greater Internet security. It will clamp down on spam of a domestic origin and provide a platform for seeking an international agreement to fight spam world-wide.
“While the government does not pretend this new law alone will solve the spam problem, it will enable us to fight New Zealand-sourced spam and enter into international agreements concerning international enforcement of anti-spam legislation, sharing of information between national enforcement agencies, and the pursuit of cross-border complaints concerning spam.
“It is important that New Zealand is not seen as a soft touch or safe haven by spammers.”