InternetNZ grows fangs

The impending sale of registrar Domainz will leave InternetNZ free to tackle the bigger issues, says president Keith Davidson. First up on the newly energised InternetNZ schedule is spam, with particular attention being paid to a Christchurch-based spammer.

The impending sale of registrar Domainz will leave InternetNZ free to tackle the bigger issues, says president Keith Davidson. First up on the newly energised InternetNZ schedule is spam, with particular attention being paid to Christchurch-based spammer Shane Atkinson.

Atkinson told both the New Zealand Herald and The Press that he was unrepentant about his activities and that anyone who didn't want to receive spam should "[not] connect to the internet, or don't have an email address".

InternetNZ will be referring Atkinson to the Commerce Commission, the Ministry of Health and also to the Privacy Commissioner for his spamming activities, which include selling pills that are claimed to enlarge a man's penis. InternetNZ believes his spam breaks the law in at least these three areas.

InternetNZ vice president and chair of the legal and regulatory committee David Farrar, says while such a move isn't going to work with every spammer, in this particular instance it could well serve the purpose. It seems to be working - with Atkinson now claiming in various media he will give up being a spammer and has closed down his business. The Press claims the business earned him over $300,000 a year.

"That's good and we're very pleased with the community reaction," says Farrar. "I'm not sure if the threat of legal action was a factor in that but we're very pleased."

Davidson says a council meeting will be needed before a complaint is laid with any of the three bodies listed but he is confident that will go ahead.

"The message has come back to us that people are expecting us to do something about issues like this. It ties in with the code of practice and that sort of thing."

InternetNZ will launch an anti-spam campaign that would involve the society in education and awareness of spam issues as well as giving input on any legislative programme against spam. InternetNZ will be fully involved in any public consultation on the matter and Farrar expects to see a consultation document from government on the matter in the next month.

Davidson says once Domainz has been sold InternetNZ councillors will be able to devote more time to the issues surrounding the internet rather than playing a role in delivering internet-related services.

"So far we've made progress discussing issues with other groups like the Direct Marketing Association and things like that."

InternetNZ is already raising its profile in other areas, such as the furore over DE Technologies patent for international e-commerce (InternetNZ puts up cash for patent opinion). InternetNZ is paying for a legal opinion into the matter on behalf of internet users in New Zealand.

Atkinson did not return immediately Computerworld Online calls.

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