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Last Updated: Thursday, 17 April, 2003, 11:02 GMT 12:02 UK
Australia plans spam ban
Spam is clogging up the internet

Australia plans to introduce new laws to ban unsolicited emails, known as spam, by the end of the year.

Communications Minister Richard Alston said he will introduce legislation "in the next few months" to make spamming an offence.

No penalties have been specified but they are more likely to be fines rather than criminal charges or jail terms.

"It's the clogging up of the system as much as the nature of the content, but clearly there is a lot of stuff there that is offensive to a lot of people," Mr Alston said.

International spam

The laws will only apply to spam from Australian sources.

As most spam originates from oversees sources, Mr Alston said there would have to be a wider international effort.

Last week an anti-spam bill was introduced in the US Congress and internet service provider America Online filed lawsuits against spammers of their subscribers.

From October, a European Union directive will make unsolicited e-mails illegal across member states.

Who and where

The move comes in response to a government report released on Wednesday.

It recommended laws to make it illegal for companies to send commercial electronic messages, including spam and text messages, without consent from the recipient.

The report also recommended all commercial electronic messages contain accurate information about the sender, including names and addresses.

AOL targets spam e-mails
15 Apr 03  |  Technology
UK sets sights on spam
27 Mar 03  |  Technology

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