[LINK] RFI: Help re SPAM Privacy Laws

Ash Nallawalla nospam@crm911.com
Mon, 17 Feb 2003 16:57:22 +1100


> From: Roger Clarke

Roger's correspondent writes:

> >I hope you can help me.  In [an Australian newspaper] last Saturday
> >I got an email address in regards to a company searching for a new 
> >employee.  My letter to this company was to offer the opportunity to 
> >service this company to supply a product that was stated in the ad 
> >for the potential employee.

I assume something like this happened: Company A advertises for an
employee to do some heavy lifting. The correspondent writes to Company A
offering to sell a back brace that might help their employee.

> >This company came back in an email address saying that we are not
> >allowed to do this and that they will be redirecting this kind of 
> >email to appropriate authorities including ORB.

I think that's inappropriate unless the correspondent had been asked to
stop sending unwanted email and had not stopped.  A better course would
have been to send an invoice for $10 to pay for the ISP volume charge
and time to read it.  The OFPC site says:

<quote>
Question: Can I ask a business to stop sending me unsolicited mail
('junk' mail)?

Answer: Yes, although it depends upon the circumstances in which the
business collected your personal information.

Some small businesses do not come under the Privacy Act (for more
information see Information Sheet 12 issued in 2001).

Those businesses that are covered by the Privacy Act must stop sending
you unsolicited mail if you ask them to, unless they originally
collected your information in order to send you direct marketing
material.
</quote>
 
> >so how is something like 
> >this supposed to be illegal if they printed their email address in 
> >the newspaper in the first place?

> As I understand it, the email-address you sent to is that of a 
> company.  If so, then the privacy laws aren't in play, because the 
> data of a company is not covered under privacy law.

The correspondent may be a business that makes less than $3M a year and
be exempt from the privacy law.

Perhaps the correspondent should sue Company A if it blacklisted the ISP
via ORDB but no law was broken? :-)  As Roger points out, there is no
legal protection against spam (yet).  I suspect that repeated spam in
spite of a cease-and-desist demand may fall into the province of
stalking, denial of service, etc.  Yes?

- Ash