10 Feb 2014

Spam case goes to High Court

10:05 pm on 10 February 2014

A marketing company is before the High Court in Auckland accused of selling 50,000 email addresses and sending hundreds of thousands of spam emails.

The Department of Internal Affairs has taken a civil case against Image Marketing Group and director Brendan Battles under the Unsolicited Electronic Messages Act.

The company sent 44,000 text messages in 2009 offering to sell antenna boosters to improve mobile coverage and 500,000 emails advertising the sale of databases of email addresses.

The department's lawyer, Ben Hamlin, told the court on Monday the company sold 50,000 email addresses to another company without the holder's permission in 2009.

It is the third case under the act. The Department of Internal Affairs has recommended to the judge that the company pay a fine of $120,000.

Justice Peters has reserved her decision, to be released later this week.

An internet law specialist says spammers aren't hard to prosecute, but the Government has to target the worst potential offenders to crack down on.

Rick Shera says the amount of spam alleged in this case is reasonably large. He says it's not hard to track down possible offenders in spamming cases, but it's a question of allocation of resources for the department.