By Patrick Avenell

SYDNEY, NSW: A Queensland man who orchestrated the mass sending of spam emails has been fined $210,000 today. According to the evidence presented during the court hearing, more than 100,000 people reported receiving the unwanted messages.

The court found Lance Thomas Atkinson sent out unsolicited emails primarily advertising herbal products and watches.

“There is simply no doubt that Australian citizens find large-scale distribution of unsolicited commercial electronic messages promoting the sale of products, in the circumstances of this case, very irritating and annoying,” said Justice Greenwood.

“It causes all users of computers to constantly update spam filters and other protective devices to try to deflect the unwanted rain of electrons and digits disseminated by those who wish to do what Mr Atkinson has done. The Parliament has made its intention plain that unsolicited distribution of electronic emails (spam) is to be discouraged.”

The Australian Communications and Media Authority, the body that made the allegations against Atkinson, said that consumer complaints instigated this action.

“The ACMA’s case in this instance relied on reports made by the general public about spam,” said ACMA chairman Chris Chapman. “Reports and complaints about spam from Australians are critical in the fight against spam. Without this information outcomes such as this could not be achieved.”

Chapman continued to thank counterparts in the United Stated, including the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

“I would like to thank the FTC and the New Zealand authorities for their valuable and coordinated assistance in the ACMA’s action,” Chapman said.

“This type of inter-agency, cross-jurisdictional collaboration is exactly what is required to combat the global scourge of spam.”