Victoria Institute of Technology breaches spam laws

The spam rules have been in force for nearly 20 years

The Victorian Institute of Technology (VIT) will undergo an independent review of its practices to comply with Australia’s anti-spam laws after an Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) investigation found VIT sent more than 6,000 marketing emails without consent.

VIT sent the messages promoting its courses in September 2021 to email addresses it purchased from a third party where there was no evidence that the consumers involved had provided their consent.

ACMA Chair Nerida O’Loughlin said consumers have choice over what email marketing they receive and have a right to expect they will not be sent unsolicited messages.

“The spam rules have been in force for nearly 20 years, and it is simply unacceptable for this failure to have occurred,” she said.

“Educational institutions cannot outsource their compliance obligations if they rely on data provided by third parties. The institution that sends the messages, or that authorises their sending, is responsible for ensuring they have consent,” she said.

Under their two-year court-enforceable undertaking to the ACMA, VIT will appoint an independent consultant to review its compliance with spam rules, implement improvements to ensure compliance, and report on its progress to the ACMA.

“We will be actively monitoring VIT’s compliance and the commitments it has made to the ACMA,” said O’Loughlin.

Over the past 18 months, businesses have paid almost $US5 million in penalties for breaching spam and telemarketing laws. The ACMA has also accepted 13 court-enforceable undertakings and given 5 formal warnings. Repeat corporate offenders can face court-imposed penalties of up to $US1.11 million a day.


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