Federal Court shows no love for fake date spammers
- 19 August, 2009 11:26
The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has been granted injunctions and declarations in the Federal Court against two companies and three individuals over fake dating profiles and high-priced SMS spamming.
Mobilegate Ltd, Winning Bid Pty Ltd, Simon Anthony Owen, Tarek Andreas Salcedo and Glenn Christopher Maughan were all found guilty of breaching the Spam Act 2003.
In December 2008, the media authority launched court proceedings against eight respondents alleging they had created fake dating profiles to gather mobile phone numbers, which were then spammed with commercial SMS messages.
Consumers that responded believed they were communicating with genuine daters, but were in fact being charged up to five dollars per message.
ACMA was granted interlocutory orders against the respondents in early June.
The court win for ACMA is its first against SMS spammers, according to the organisation’s chairman, Chris Chapman.
“The significant resources that the ACMA has put into this matter, again demonstrates our commitment to protecting Australians against illegal conduct,” he said in a statement.
The authority has had a series of wins against SMS spammers out of court, with Optus paying $110,000 in fines for allegedly sending unsolicited mobile phone messages.
In late June, ACMA approved Australia’s first training program for Oxygen8 Communications, which was accused of sending messages to users without their consent.
A hearing for penalties against the five respondents is pending.
A further hearing against the remaining three respondents will begin on November 30.