By 3 News online staff
A man has been fined $12,000 for sending thousands of abusive spam emails linking to a mobile phone arcade game, in the first defended anti-spam case in New Zealand.
The Department of Internal Affairs has welcomed the penalty handed down to spammer Zeljko Aksentijevic for breaching the Unsolicited Electronic Messages Act, after the judge's decision was released yesterday.
Internal Affairs took a case against Aksentijevic after receiving complaints he sent 2230 messages to members of the public linking to his free Android app, Crazy Tilt Arcade Challenge, in 2012.
The messages were sent to members of an internet gaming forum after an online argument, and were abusive in nature, the department says.
He also sent emails from several different email addresses in an attempt to stay anonymous.
Aksentijevic was found to have breached the act by sending unsolicited emails with inaccurate sender information, and did not include an unsubscribe option.
He continued sending the emails after being warned he was breaching the act.
In his decision, Manukau District Court Judge Charles Blackie said the abusive nature of the emails was an aggravating factor.
"Breaching the provisions of the act in relation to commercial electronic messaging is one thing, but adding a veneer of abuse is another."
The main purpose of the $12,000 fine was to act as a deterrent for Aksentijevic and potential scammers, he said.
The case, which was heard in July last year, was the first defended anti-spam case in New Zealand and the first civil pecuniary penalty application to be heard through to completion in Manukau District Court.
Department of Internal Affairs investigator Peter Merrigan welcomed the decision and warned the department will continue to prosecute spammers.
"The department takes the matter of spam seriously, and the decision by Judge Blackie sends a strong message that all those sending spam, even without financial motivation, can expect to be held accountable."
source: newshub archive