Non-commercial unsolicited email is not ‘spam’ in Australia

So for the last few months, I (via the QGL mailing list) have been receiving a bunch of what I consider to be ‘spam’ from someone called Frank Walker. It’s unsolicited email with a clear focus – commerical/political in nature, all referencing a handful of sites – and seemingly, no way at all to make it stop. Unsubscribe requests are not honored, the mails going out are going to many people via a Cc: field, and it’s clear that other people receiving these emails were not expecting them and want them to stop too.

This somewhat obnoxious person has compiled a list of various mailing addresses – including MPs like Tony Abbott and Malcolm Turnbull and various interest groups – and has been spamming anti-Labor political propaganda (primarily about global warming) for a few months.

Frank Walker does not respond to unsubscribe requests. There’s no useful information identifying him – in fact, I suspect ‘Frank Walker’ is a pseudonym, as shortly before he arrived in my Inbox I was getting a bunch of extremely similar emails from another name and email address. I complained to the ISP about this behaviour and shortly after, Walker arrived on the scene. Possibly a coincidence, but who knows? But in short, he seems to violate pretty much every section of the “What is spam?” rulebook for Australians.

I contacted the ACMA about Mr Walker, assuming that this qualified as spam. The ACMA got back to me very quickly and confirmed that it is, surprisingly, not spam. It’s not commercial in nature:

it does not appear to be commercial in nature and therefore unlikely to
be, for the purposes of the spam act, considered a unsolicited commercial message.

Most annoying.

Fortunately I have technical know-how to simply block these stupid emails on our mail server. Others are not so lucky – several of the unwilling recipients of this drivel have replied-to-all (yes, everyone is just included in one big “to” line; Mr Walker either is ignorant of the Bcc field or has done this intentionally to really piss everyone off) asking to be unsubscribed. I assume, like my unsubscribe request, that it was ignored.

If you’re getting Mr Walker’s silly emails, with their propaganda (the latest post is “KEVIN RUDDS REPORT CARD”, the contents of which are quite predictable) and silly references to nutbag blogs, then simply mark him as spam in your mail client and it will eventually go away – but remember, it’s not really spam!

(For what it’s worth, I’m no rabid Labor supporter. I think their policies, particularly when it comes to technology, are uninformed or outright stupid, like the Internet filter.)

Update: This person has changed email addresses and is now identified as ‘Annie Walker’ of freedomlover69@gmail.com. Clearly an intentional effort to evade spam filters.

Update: This person has changed email addresses and is now identified as ‘William Jones’ of communistfighter@gmail.com.

Update 2010/08/30: Another new email address, this time ‘John Richardson’ of therealfacts4u@gmail.com.

Update 2010/09/20: Another new address! ‘John Parkinson’ of jpark652@gmail.com. How much spare time does this guy have!

Update 2010/09/28: New address: ‘Wendy Allen’ of wallenabg@gmail.com

Update 2010/10/28: New address ‘Jamie Wilson’ of wilsonjamie317@gmail.com

Update 2010/11/01: New address ‘Lois Philips’ of stopthelies52@gmail.com

Update 2010/12/06: New address Frank Johnstone of ‘behonestnow67@gmail.com’

Update 2010/12/21: New address Jamie Wilson of ‘wilsonjamie317@gmail.com’

Update 2011/07/05: After a bit of a break, two new addresses: Prakein Woldnomish of ‘prakein.woldnomish@gmail.com’, and Richard Jenkins of ‘ricjenk239863@gmail.com’

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