The Federal opposition says the Commonwealth Government’s anti-spam legislation - that passed the House of Representatives last week - still needs improvement.
Labor wants to amend the bills to include various exemptions for individuals and organisations as well as a definition of “consent” for single emails.
The Government, led by former Minister for Communications and IT, Senator Richard Alston, backed the National Office of the Information Economy's (NOIE) anti-spam drive by vowing that Australian spammers will be thoroughly prosecuted under the new anti-spam regime.
Addressing the annual conference of the Australian Broadcasting Authority in Canberra, Alston said spamming in Australia would not be tolerated and would be punished wherever possible
Labor is also raised concerned about the “search and seizure provisions” that will be given to the Australian Communications Authority (ACA) under the bill.
Opposition IT spokesperson, Kate Lundy, said in some situations, the bill could allow ACA inspectors to enter and search premises – including private computer systems – without obtaining a warrant.
A government spokesperson said any action against spam was better than nothing at all.
The government hoped to gain support from all opposition parties in its plight to stop unsolicited email.
The ACA has received additional funding of $300,000 to enforce anti-spam legislation, and it will administer the new laws.
Under the legislation, software used to harvest addresses and generate address lists for the purposes of sending spam will be banned. Courts will be able to award compensation to businesses that have suffered from spamming. They can also recover profits made by spammers.