New Zealand Government Takes Australian Spammer to Court

New Zealand’s Department of Internal Affairs’ Anti-Spam Compliance Unit is taking an Australian spammer to court. Wayne Robert Mansfield of Perth is accused of violating New Zealand’s Unsolicited Commercial Messages Act. The violations allegedly occurred in 2007 when Mansfield sent emails to email addresses ending in .nz advertising his business and marketing seminars. The complaint also says the email addresses and servers he used to send the spam to were also located in New Zealand. He faces a fine of $200,000. A New Zealand man was hit with a $100,000 fine for violating the act in 2008, and there is an ongoing case against a marketing firm. No decision has yet been made. It’s not clear if violations carry any jail time.

Suing spammers isn’t new, governments and corporations have been doing it for years. I question its effectiveness though. The spammers either refuse to pay and leave the country, making the judgment unenforceable, or they simply file for bankruptcy. They rarely stop spamming. While those who win suits against spammers may enjoy the moral victory, financially they come out on the losing end.

Is it worth it to sue spammers when your chances of getting any compensation are slim to none and your legal fees steep? Leave a comment and let me know your thoughts. Personally, I think such efforts and resources should be directed toward taking down botnets and spam friendly ISPs and webhosts. That is a much more effective way of fighting back.

Written by Sue Walsh


  1. Justin Noverly · June 10, 2012

    Yes, include ISPs and webhosts. If legislations make conspirators (by tolerance or intent) liable for spam, it would be more difficult for spammers to do their deed. And aside from that, punitive provisions in anti-spam laws should also be harsher. No spammer who had a taste of the money would be deterred by such light sentences.

    Spammers are not like murderers or rapists. They are not driven by madness or psychosis. They are driven by the rewards of the crime, much like how white collar criminals operate. Therefore, make the punishment graver than the rewards. Simple logic, because that’s how spammers operate.

  2. Liam Bancroft · June 10, 2012

    I think the fact that these offenses from 5 or more years ago are being litigated and presided over right now should tell you something about the effectiveness of these laws. Any spammer with a legitimate concern about legal repercussions and the sense to do his “job” correctly can pack up his operation, cover his tracks, and start over somewhere else. Appreciated, yes. Effective, not nearly enough.

Leave A Reply