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Prohibiting Spam and Promoting Good Business Practice

On Friday we attended the Department of Internal Affair’s (DIA) workshop on the Unsolicited Electronic Messages Act 2007(Act). Running for a little over an hour the workshop covered the basics of what Spam is and how you may know you have come into contact with it (emails like: Nigerian Scams, Russian Brides, Degrees etc).

The grounds for bringing in the legislation were provided and some of the reasons mentioned were: preventing a lack in user confidence in electronic communication and in particular electronic commerce; Spam clogs networks and is a threat to network integrity and security. Spam reduces productivity and can result in identity theft.

For those of you that didn’t know the Act and it’s regulations were drafted by the Ministry of Economic Development, however the enforcement of the Act is in the hands of the DIA. A simple explanation of how to know if a message is Spam was offered by the DIA: If the message is electronic; commercial and unsolicited it is Spam. The message is not Spam unless it meets all three requirements (unsolicited, electronic and commercial). So before you send a message – assess it and contact the recipient by telephone, fax or snail mail to get approval before sending your message.

If your message is ‘commercial’ – contains information about your goods & services (definition supplied in the Good & Services Guarantees Act) then you will also need to provide an ‘unsubscribe’ facility and process the unsubscribe within five days.

It is easy to report Spam – go to (live from Wednesday 5th Sept 07) and the disciplinary process can be as many as four steps or if the spam is severe enough only one step – straight to court!

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