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What you Need to Know About Anti Spam

What is Spam? Spam is the generic term for the electronic commercial email, fax, and mobile phone text and image-based messages you may receive without requesting them.

You will find that almost always these messages are of a commercial nature and invite you, the recipient, to buy a product or service.

The Unsolicited Electronic Messages Act 2007 is designed to help stop these activities by creating a safe and secure environment for businesses and the wider community. This Email Law NZ came into effect on 5 September 2007, the Act defines spam as ‘unsolicited commercial electronic messages’.

New Zealand Spam Law covers the following;

  • Spam – Businesses and individuals can complain about Spam to the Department of Internal Affairs‘ Anti-Spam Compliance Unit. The Department may then investigate the complaints and take any appropriate action.
  • Complaints about objectionable material – If you have concerns about something you have seen that may be objectionable you fill out an online Content Complaint Form or contact a Censorship Inspector. The Department enforces the Films, Videos, and Publication Classification Act 1993.
  • Electronic messages – The Act covers email, fax, instant messaging, mobile and smart phone text and image-based messages of a commercial nature. It does NOT cover Internet pop-ups or voice telemarketing.

Purposes of the Act

  1. To prohibit unsolicited commercial electronic messages with a New Zealand link, this means messages sent to, from or within New Zealand.
  2. Requires commercial electronic messages to include accurate information about the person who authorised the sending of the message and an unsubscribe facility that enables the recipient to instruct the sender that no further messages are to be sent to the recipient
  3. To stop address-harvesting software being used to create address lists for sending unsolicited commercial electronic messages
  4. To Deter people from using information and communication technologies inappropriately.

Role of the Anti-Spam Compliance Unit

The Department of Internal Affairs’ Anti-Spam Compliance Unit was established at the same time the Act came into force – in September 2007. The Anti-Spam Compliance Unit enforces the Unsolicited Electronic Messages Act 2007 by investigating complaints about spam.

Anti-Spam Compliance Unit employs the following five layer strategy for fighting spam.

  • Directly enforcing the Unsolicited Electronic Messages Act 2007
  • Promoting education and awareness
  • Facilitating industry liaison
  • Monitoring emerging technologies
  • Working with international agencies

The Anti-Spam Compliance Unit publishes information for businesses to comply with the Act and the latest reported scams. You can also read the results of their investigations and view statistics about spam and scams.

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