A New Zealand court fined a spammer $12,000 a few days ago. According to a press release published by the Department of Internal Affairs, the spam was apparently some sort of bizarre response to an argument that broke out in an internet gaming forum. The messages, described as “mainly abusive in nature”, contained links to a webpage promoting his free Android app, Crazy Tilt Arcade Challenge. He also sent the messages from multiple addresses in an attempt to hide is identity. Nothing like mixing business with internet forum-fueled revenge.
This is far from the largest fine that has been handed out under the New Zealand Unsolicited Electronic Messages Act 2007, which provides for fines of up to $500,000. That came last year when the New Zealand High Court fined Image Marketing Group (IMG) $120,000 for sending over 500,000 emails and almost 45,000 text messages promoting databases and antenna boosters.
IMG had also sold a database of 50,000 email addresses to someone else for $1,000, the use of which resulted in 400 spam complaints. IMG was held liable for the use of the list under a section of the law that prohibits a person from being “directly or indirectly, knowingly concerned in, or party to” a violation of the Act (this is somewhat similar to section 9 of CASL). IMG is owned by Brendan Battles, who has been described as a notorious spammer who used to live in the US.