Australia nails first spammer

An Australian spammer has become the first person to be successfully prosecuted under that country's anti-spam laws.

The Western Australia-based spammer, Wayne Mansfield, and his company Clarity1, were found to have illegally sent more than 56 million spam messages to email addresses around the world during the 12 months since the act was introduced in April 2004.

In April 2005, authorities in Australia raided offices in Perth, during which the contents of computer hard drives and other materials were seized. The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) brought the case against Mansfield.

Justice Nicholson, of the Federal Court in Perth, rejected defense pleas that recipients had consented to receive the spam emails. The federal court will determine what penalty Mansfield should receive at a later date.

"The ACMA should be applauded for presenting a thorough case against Wayne Mansfield, and for cutting off the tidal wave of spam originating from his company," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos. "Australia's Spam Act is a positive step towards eradicating spam from down under. However, it is only through the combination of international cooperation, legislation, law enforcement, technology and user education that will spell the end for spam."

The ACMA and Australia's Internet Industry Association recently registered the world's first legislatively-backed industry code of practice to counter spam.

"Complaints about Wayne Mansfield's spam were received far from Australia's shores, including from the U.K.," said Cluley. "It's important that everyone remembers that spam is a global problem, and that spammers need to be hunted down wherever in the world they may choose to hide."

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