[LINK] Fwd: MR146-08: ACMA issues formal warning to Hyarchis Company Ltd. for alleged breaches of the Spam Act [SEC=UNCLASSIFIED]

Scott Howard scott at doc.net.au
Thu Nov 20 13:02:42 AEDT 2008

If it is legitimate, it's a complete lie on their behalf.

I went to one of their websites (http://ezyfriends.net/ - Possibly NSFW) and
entered my phone number. The SMS I received from them a few seconds later
was :

"*(FREE MSG) The passcode to confirm your subscription is : 2900  Please
enter the code in the website you were just at!*"

The MPSI Code/Guidelines they refer to includes :

"*4.4.2 Content of subscription request message:
The subscription request message referred to in clause 4.4.1(e) must:
    (a) commence with the phrase "FreeMsg";
    (b) include the name of the Premium Messaging Subscription Service;
    (c) include any sign-up cost;
    (d) include frequency of charging information, including any:
        (i) charge per MO Message;
        (ii) charge per MT Message; or
        (iii) charge per time period;
    (e) instruct the Customer to send an MO Message to a particular Short
Code in order to subscribe; and
    (f) include details of the Helpline.*"


So they have covered 1 out of 6 requirements for the SMS they sent me. None
of (b) through (f) were covered in the SMS I received.

>From a quick glance I'd say there's several other areas of the Guidelines
they are ignoring.

Interesting when I entered my phone number a second time I got a second
confirmation message with a different code - wonder how many times I would
need to spam someones number before I could brute-force the activation code


On Wed, Nov 19, 2008 at 4:20 PM, Michael Meloni <
mike at somebodythinkofthechildren.com> wrote:

> Antony Barry wrote:
> >> From: "Australian Communications & Media Authority"
> >> <media at acma.gov.au>
> >> Date: 19 November 2008 2:18:46 PM
> >> To: <tony at tony-barry.emu.id.au>
> >> Subject: MR146-08: ACMA issues formal warning to Hyarchis Company
> >> Ltd. for alleged breaches of the Spam Act [SEC=UNCLASSIFIED]
> >> Reply-To: media at acma.gov.au
> >>
> >> The Australian Communications and Media Authority has issued a
> >> formal warning to Hyarchis Company Limited for alleged breaches of
> >> the Spam Act 2003. The alleged breaches were in relation to the
> >> sending of commercial electronic messages by SMS, without the
> >> consent of the recipient. The full media release can be found at
> >> http://www.acma.gov.au/WEB/STANDARD/pc=PC_311536
> >>
> >>
> >
> >
> Here is a letter allegedly written by Hyarchis Company Ltd and published
> at
> http://acma-authority.blogspot.com/2008/11/acma-makes-web-marketing-illegal.html
> There are quite a number of spelling errors, so its accuracy is highly
> questionable.
> -----
> "We are a content provider in the MPSI. We are an active member of the
> Communications Alliance. We comply with all laws, industry codes and
> regulations in this country.
> Despite all this, we were blamed publicly today by ACMA in a Media
> Release where we are accused of marketing spam. This is absolutely
> ridiculous, as all we were doing was following the industry guidelines.
> Let us explain: When soneone in Australia surfs the web and in
> particular free sites, then these are - as you surely know - financed by
> advertising. WE do - as many players in the industry - spend a
> significant amount of our budget on web marketing to attract new
> customers to our services.
> If a customer comes across our offer and is attracted, the MPSI industry
> guidelines request the folllowing steps:
> (a) Customer has to enter phone number
> (b) customer has to tick off Terms and Conditions
> (c) Customer has to click on "send" button
> Once that all has been fulfilled, the MPSI guidelines require that a
> message is sent to the customer to ask him to confirm the request. This
> step is compulsory to ensure that the real account holder received the
> compulsory message as described above.
> Only once he confirms this by sending another message from his handset,
> or entering a unique code (which was sent to his handset) into the web
> marketing, he will be entered into the service.
> In our case, obviously someone who was not the account holder though it
> was a funny idea to enter a random number (0411 111 111) into one of our
> web ads. Of course, the real account holder received the compulsory
> message as described above.
> The customer immediately complained to ACMA. ACMA then started an
> investigation and obviously - after extensive correspondence - found us
> guilty of spam for sending this compulsory message. The reasoning was as
> follows:
> "The unique nature of this electronic address (0411...) however was not
> identified by Hyarchis as one which could be potentially entered by
> parties who are not the account holder of the electronic address."
> We (Hyarchis) replied inter alia as follows:
> "(...) It lies in the nature of the medium that abuse by persons using
> the website or web advertising cannot be entirely avoided by the
> advertising company, meaning it is impossible for advertisers to stop
> incorrect mobile phone numbers being entered into web advertising or web
> pages (by mistake or on purpose and by persons known or unknown).
> The advertising company will, in accordance with the guidelines, send am
> essage to the number entered into the web ad. If and only if the
> customer then proceeds as instructed in the message, will the customer
> be entered into a service."
> ACMA did not find this reasonable. The decision was furthermore based on
> "significant contact" ACMA had with the account holder - which we do not
> see as a legal foundation, but more as a factor that supports our view
> that the decision has not been made on an objective basis.
> However, we are not surpised the account holder had "significant
> contact" with ACMA, as his mobile number is extremely "fancy" - and
> therefore would be frequently entered by "funny people" into web ads.
> BOTTOM LINE: Everyone who wants to do web marketing in Australia from
> now on has to employ hundreds of thousands of staff out there to sit
> besides every soul surfing the web here 24/7/365. As soon as they enter
> a phone number into a web ad, they have to verify that that they are the
> account holder. The process is simple: They just have to ask for a photo
> ID and the customer's contract with the carrier, so the marketer can
> prove the person entering the number is the account holder."
> ------
> --
> Michael Meloni
> http://www.somebodythinkofthechildren.com
> http://www.netalarmed.com
> _______________________________________________
> Link mailing list
> Link at mailman.anu.edu.au
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