Optus fined $110,000 for SMS spamming

Optus has been hit with two fines totalling $110,000 for allegedly sending 20,000 text messages without properly disclosing which company they were from.

Optus has been hit with two fines totalling $110,000 for allegedly sending 20,000 text messages without properly disclosing which company they were from.

The Australian Media and Communications Authority issued the fines after Optus allegedly sent the messages to customers’ phones with the sender identification tag “966” in a bid to promote its Zoo entertainment service.

“Optus assumed that recipients of their messages would make the connection between ‘966’ and ‘Zoo’,”ACMA chairman Chris Chapman says.

“However, this was not considered sufficient identification, as ‘966’ could be used to represent any number of permutations on a telephone keypad.”

Optus and the AMCA could not come to an agreement concerning what actions needed to be taken over the breach, despite long negotiations.

“Undertakings can provide an excellent opportunity for businesses to demonstrate their commitment to compliance. However, as in this example, ACMA will use its stronger enforcement powers where the undertakings offered are not considered an adequate response to the compliance issues raised.”

The fine is the second largest issued by ACMA for breaches of the spam act, and comes after the group started action against three mobile phone companies in the Federal Court yesterday.

Chapman says companies must be diligent about complying with the regulations set out in the spam act, which require electronic messages to clearly display the sender’s identification.

“Ensuring spam compliance procedures are understood by all staff is imperative for all businesses if they want to avoid the risk of costly fines.”

Optus did not comment at the time of publication.

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