Email spammer faces fines of up to $2.1m

20:46, Sep 14 2011

An alleged serial email spammer faces up to $2.1 million in fines after the Department of Internal Affairs added a third statement of claim in the High Court yesterday against Auckland company Image Marketing Group and its principal, Brendan Paul Battles.

Internal Affairs has also applied for an injunction prohibiting Battles from sending emails ending with ".nz" without gaining prior consent and from selling in New Zealand email addresses and mobile numbers where the holders of the addresses had not consented to receive messages.

The department's Anti-spam Compliance Unit filed two earlier claims in the High Court at Auckland in February. In those claims IMG and Battles were accused of sending nearly 520,000 spam emails and nearly 45,000 spam text messages in 2009.

IMG faces up to $500,000 in potential penalties on each of the claims and Battles up to $200,000.

In its latest claim, Internal Affairs said IMG marketed a database of some 50,000 email addresses through an unsolicited electronic message.

The database was bought by a businessman who used it to market his goods and services. More than 400 complaints were made about the emails.

IMG had allegedly given an assurance to the database buyer that it complied with the Unsolicited Electronic Messages Act (anti-spam laws) and that the holders of the addresses had consented to receiving the emails.

Internal Affairs was still investigating businesses that had bought and used IMG databases some of which had been fined for breaching the act. Senior investigator Toni Demetriou said the sender of any commercial electronic message must have the consent of the recipient before the message was sent. Fairfax NZ