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The Spam Bill (2003) - A Symposium

hosted by

Baker & McKenzie Cyberspace Law and Policy Centre
UNSW Faculty of Law, Sydney, Australia

Thursday 16 October 2003

[Note: the Spam Act and Spam (Consequential Amendments) Act 2003 were passed unamended by the Senate on 2 December 2003. They come into full operation 120 days after the date of assent on 12 December, in mid April 2004.]

Media coverage of Australian Spam Act 2003

'Using tech to slice spam', Stefanie Olsen, ZDNet, 23 March 2004

'Spam bill passed', Chris Jenkins, The Australian IT section, 2 December 2003

'Spam Bills pass through Senate as Democrats, ALP brawl', Patrick Gray, ZDNet Australia, 28 November 2003

'Labor to concede Spam Bill amendments', Julian Bajkowski, Computerworld, 5 November 2003

'Getting to grips with spam - the Australian government proposes new anti-spam legislation', Mimi Curran, Findlaw, November 2003

'Australia and Korea sign spam MoU', FindLaw, 21 October 2003

'ACA gets $300k to fight spam', CIO magazine article

'Democrats to seek changes in anti-spam bill', Sam Varghese, SMH, October 13 2003

Spam Bills 2003 - Background Material

Spam Act (2003)

Spam (Consequential Amendments) Act (2003)

Report of Senate consideration of the Bills, 26 November 2003

Precis and Main features of the Spam Bill 2003, courtesy of NOIE.

Inquiry of Senate Committee on Environment, Communications, Information Technology
and the Arts Legislation, hearing 23 October 2003

Submissions to the Senate Committee, by 20 October

Report of the Senate Committee, 29 October 2003

House of Reps Spam Bill page with links to Second Reading speeches

Spam Bill 2003 (Cth) [PDF] (APH)

Explanatory Memorandum
or scaleplus.law.gov.au/html/ems/0/2003/0/2003092501.htm

Minister Alston's "doorstop" interview, 18 September 2003

Spam (Consequential Amendments) Bill 2003

Explanatory Memorandum for the Consequential Amendments Bill

NOIE's Final Spam Report  

EFA's analysis of the Spam Bill, and a media report
www.efa.org.au/Publish/spambills2003.html (see also their submission to Senate)

CAUBE.AU's response to EFA position

IIA's Spam consumer awareness campaign, Media release, September 2003

'Spam Act regulates electronic marketing and builds on Privacy Act', Privacy Law Alert, December 2003

D Vaile, "Spam Canned", Internet Law Bulletin, 6 (2004) 6(9) INTLB 113.


ITU international cooperation initiatives - 2004


Worldwide authorities and legislative frameworks addressing spam

Spam in the Information Society: Building frameworks for International Cooperation

Memorandum of Understanding on Mutual Enforcement Assistance in Commercial Email Matters among the following Agencies of the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia [implies acceptance of US opt out standard]

EU Directive, in force 31 October 2003

EU Directive 2002/58/EC (Directive on privacy and electronic communications), 12 July 2002

"EU directive on direct marketing takes effect Friday", Scarlett Pruit, IDG, in TechWorld, 30 October 2003

"Direct Marketing: EU Directive on Privacy and Electronic Communications", Spratt Endicott, July 2003

The Directive on Privacy and Electronic Communications (2002/58/EC), UK Dept of trade and Industry, undated.


Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act, 22 October 2003 (A bill to regulate interstate commerce by imposing limitations and penalties on the transmission of unsolicited commercial electronic mail via the Internet), or the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003
www.spamlaws.com/federal/108s877.html and

'US Spam bill changes passed', Ted Bridis, AP/The Australian IT section, 26 November 2003

(US Spam bill to be consolidated by House of Reps) "Tauzin Announces Agreement On Historic Anti-Spam Bill", The House Committee on Energy and Commerce, ChairmanW.J. "Billy" Tauzin, 21 November 2003

'US Senate Approves Weak Spam Bill', EPIC Alert, 23 October 2003

'US Senate gets tough on spam', Ted Bridis, The Australian, 23 October 2003

California's Spam laws

California Business And Professions Code
Division 7, Part 3, Chapter 1, Article 1.8. 'Restrictions On Unsolicited Commercial E-Mail Advertisers', approved 24 September 2003

"Calif. Gets Strictest Spam Law in U.S.", Jonathan Krim, Washington Post, 25 September 2003

'California wins anti-spam case', Maggie Shiels, BBC, 25 October 2003

Further materials are posted as they become available.

See also papers from our CLE conference on Spam, held 4 December.

Introduction to this Symposium

The regulation of Spam and other unsolicited electronic messages raises complex issues. The National Office of the Information Economy consulted widely and produced a final Report. The resulting Spam Bill 2003 (Cth) and a related consequential Bill amending other Acts were introduced into the House of Representative in early October. On 8 October the Spam Bill was referred to a Senate committee, which sought submissions by Monday, 20 October 2003. The matter went before a Senate Committe on 23 October.

As government, advocates and industry attempt to grapple with these issues, it is useful to consider public interest aspects of Spam regulation, including justifications for exemptions, possible unintended effects of enforcement procedures, and impacts on privacy and other issues.

  • Which parts of the Spam Bill are likely to be effective and appropriate? Which parts are cause for concern?

  • Will the Spam Bill interfere with legitimate business communications?

  • Is it a threat to privacy? Are there other unintended or poorly understood consequences?

  • Are the exemptions for politicians, religious organisations, charities, and others justified? (Especially in the context of the similar exemptions from the Privacy Act, which might otherwise provide some backup remedies)

  • Will the Spam Bill be treated as a model for other countries?

  • Can it work without international cooperation?

This invitation-only symposium canvassed public interest concerns about the proposed legislative framework in the Spam Bill, explored queries about how it would work in certain situations, and encouraged debate on possible refinements.

The Symposium

The Baker & McKenzie Cyberspace Law and Policy Centre, UNSW Law Faculty, hosted a symposium to discuss issues surrounding the strengths and weaknesses of the Spam Bill and encourage debate on possible refinements.

There were two sessions. The first featured presentations from several expert perspectives to stimulate debate. The second involved open-ended discussion.

The symposium format offers a unique opportunity to participants to share insights into this key development in Australian spam regulation. The event offered a forum for open and free-ranging discussion to occur between the participants.


Baker & McKenzie Board Room, 26th floor
AMP Building,
50 Bridge Street
Sydney NSW 2000


Introductory speakers:

Other participants included:


David Vaile, executive director, Baker & McKenzie Cyberspace Law and Policy Centre at UNSW

For more details contact:

David Vaile
Executive Director
Baker & McKenzie Cyberspace Law and Policy Centre

T: (02) 9385 3589
F: (02) 9385 1778
E: d.vaile [at] unsw.edu.au

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URL: http://www.cyberlawcentre.org/spam/spam_bill.htm - Updated 12 July 2004