VIAGRA, vitamins, cheap mortgages and porn will continue to clog e-mail in-boxes despite tough new anti-spam laws that take effect today.
Despite threats of fines of up to $1.1 million a day for spammers, Australians will see little change in the amount of junk e-mail they receive.
The new Spam Act 2003 applies only to spam that originates in Australia, but that accounts for less than 1 per cent of global spam.
More than 99 per cent originates overseas, mainly the US, where the new laws do not reach.
Last month, 60 per cent of the 45 million e-mails a day that MessageLabs screens around the world were spam.
That figure is estimated to reach 80 per cent within three years.
Australia lags slightly behind the global average, with around 45 per cent of all e-mails being spam.
MessageLabs Australia director Paul MacRae said it was vital to rein in spam because, if left unchecked, it could destroy the use of e-mail as a communication tool.
"The main reason people go online is because the ability to communicate easily and freely is a critical part of the internet," he said.
Analysts have estimated the cost of spam to business in lost productivity could be $1500 to $2000 for each employee every year.
The new laws, contained in the Spam Act 2003, ban unsolicited commercial electronic messages with an Australian link.
Internet Industry Association chief executive Peter Coroneos hoped the laws could reduce the amount of spam within two years.
He said the new laws would push Australian businesses to a consent-based form of electronic marketing.
"(Spam) is driving people to distraction and severely undermining the value of e-mail as a communication system," he said.
"Once a lot of countries have good (anti) spam laws, the next step will be some sort of international cooperation on enforcement."
The definition of electronic messages under the Act includes e-mail, instant messaging, SMS and other mobile phone messaging, but not normal voice-to-voice communication by phone.
To be considered spam, the message must be commercial - offering a commercial transaction or directing the recipient to a site where a commercial transaction can take place.
A message is only considered spam if it is sent without the consent of the recipient.
The new laws also:
IMPOSE penalties of up to $220,000 for breaches on a single day, or up to $1.1 million a day for subsequent offences.
BAN the supply or use of address-harvesting software of harvested e-mail lists for sending spam.
FORCE businesses and marketers to gain your consent to send messages, include accurate sender information and include a functional unsubscribe facility.
The Spam Act came in to effect on December 12, but the 120-day grace period expires today. - http://www.heraldsun.news.com.au/co...255E662,00.html
This was posted my me in the Quest, but thought of making a thread about SPAM when reading this in APC (Australian Personal Computer) magazine:~~~
Is Bill Gates cuckoo, or has he just been spending far too long hanging out in Microsoft's reasearch labs? The big man is excited about some new anti-spam ideas Microsoft is working on, one of which involves making spammers pay to send email.
Do you think that either will work? The SPAM act starting in Australia is likely to catch onto other countries - hopefully the big boys; America and England.