The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), the media and telecommunications regulator in Australia, has given Optus a $110,000 fine for two alleged infringements of the Spam Act 2003, for sending SMS messages without an “accurate sender identification”.
These were in relation, according to ACMA, to 20,000 SMS messages sent by Optus to promote its entertainment services via its OptusZoo portal via the number “966”, referring to the letters “zoo” if spelt out on the mobile’s numeric keypad.
“Optus assumed that recipients of their messages would make the connection between ‘966’ and ‘ZOO’”, Chairman for ACMA, Chris Chapman, said in a statement.
“However, this was not considered sufficient identification, as "966" could be used to represent any number of permutations on a telephone keypad. Ensuring spam compliance procedures are understood by all staff is imperative for all businesses if they want to avoid the risk of costly fines.”
ACMA has also said that Optus has paid the fine, and has implemented the new compliance measures to ensure that all future SMS messages that it sends out will have the accurate sender information.
“Optus takes its obligations to the spam act seriously and takes care to ensure that all advertising and marketing campaigns are carried out in accordance with the Spam Act and other marketing related legislation,” a spokesperson for Optus said.
This is the second highest penalty issued by ACMA in relation to breaches in the Spam Act, with the highest occurring in July 2007 when DC Marketing Europe was issued a $149,600 fine for 102 breaches relating to missed call marketing between July and August 2006.