Spam police get ready to rumble

The Anti-Spam Unit at DIA is starting to get into real cases

The Department of Internal Affairs new team of inspectors is raring to go with some real investigations.

Joe Stewart, who heads the Anti-Spam Unit at DIA, says his investigators are starting to get into real cases.

“Watch this space,” he says.

Stewart says 935 complaints have been received to date of which 290 involve messages issued from New Zealand. He says DIA investigators are now ready to have a closer look at some of these.

Three Auckland organisations had already been checked, only to find that some complainants had given their permission to receive messages and subsequently forgotten about it.

Stewart says messages with sexual content get special attention as they are specifically mentioned in the Act. However, these almost all come from overseas, he says.

One example, which was thought to contain child pornography, turned out to be a “nasty Trojan”, Stewart says.

Speaking at the Web Developers Association of New Zealand (WDANZ) conference in Auckland last week, Stewart said apparent confusion about the requirements of the new legislation had been caused when a “bunch of Auckland lawyers got risk averse”. However, he was taken to task by at least one conference-goer who recounted erroneous advice he said he received from the department.

“There have been a huge number of very specific questions about very specific scenarios and we have given very specific answers,” Stewart says. Sometimes some of that detail can be misunderstood by either party.

Stewart also indicated the Ministry of Economic Development could consider “unintended consequences” of the new legislation and correct these through regulation. He says these can be scenarios that either weren’t considered or didn’t exist when the legislation was passed.

Also speaking at the WDANZ conference was Google’s new local sales manager Paul Webster. Webster says Google is focusing on three areas: search, advertising and applications. In New Zealand the emphasis is “definitely on the ad side”, he says.

He says Google ads will go deeper and wider offering new types of advertising and new formats, including display advertising.

Mobile will be another area of growth for Google, he says with mobile instant messaging, mobile search and Gmail for mobile among other services.

Webster also touted Google’s gadget advertising as having “the versatility of a website in an ad format”. He cited Air New Zealand as one local firm that had deployed such a gadget, for its grab-a-seat fares.

Another local user of Google’s services has been Tourism New Zealand which booked a homepage slot on Google’s YouTube site for one of its “100% Pure” ads. It received over 600,000 plays in 24 hours, targeting users in the US, UK and Japan, Webster says.

The ad also linked through to a “100% Pure” branded channel, effectively a skin on the proprietary YouTube infrastructure.

Webster also showed local research of a sample of 600 adults undertaken by Media-Screen. 97% had used search to research products or services online. 90% relied on Google while just 11% relied on rival Yahoo, the research shows.

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Tags wdanzspamanti-spam unitdiaanti-spam actSecurity ID

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