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Spam-fighting bill moves closer to becoming law

Hon David Cunliffe
Minister for Information Technology

A bill to help fight the avalanches of spam clogging Kiwi inboxes is another step closer to becoming law, says Information Technology Minister David Cunliffe.

The Unsolicited Electronic Messages Bill reached its second-reading milestone in Parliament today.

"When I introduced this bill last December, unsolicited electronic messages, more commonly known as 'spam', were said to make up some 60 per cent to 80 per cent of all email traffic worldwide," Mr Cunliffe said.

"Now as much as 90 per cent or more is spam, according to some Internet service providers.

"It clogs up networks, reduces productivity and is often used for scams and malicious cyber-attacks. Always, spam is a nuisance, and often it is worse."

The bill, reported back from the Commerce Select Committee in August, aims to:

- Prevent New Zealand becoming a haven for spammers;

- Promote good e-marketing practice;

- Provide a basis for international co-operation to fight spam.

It contains prohibitions and requirements relating to the sending of commercial electronic messages and establishes a civil enforcement regime, including high maximum financial penalties for breaches.

"The select committee recommended a number of changes to the original bill, which the government is happy to support," Mr Cunliffe said.

"The bill is an important piece of legislation that reflects the significant role information and communications technologies play in our lives now and will play increasingly in the future.

"If New Zealand is to fully realise the benefits of information and communications technologies then users of these technologies must have trust and confidence in them.

"This bill, when passed, will clamp down on domestic-origin spam and provide a platform for seeking an international agreement to fight spam world-wide."

ENDS

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