Telstra has implemented new terms and conditions and revised its acceptable use policy for customers across its BigPond ADSL and cable broadband services in a bid to cut back further the level of spam hitting its network.
The conditions will come into effect from 26 December 2003 for existing BigPond broadband users, but will apply to all new customers signing up to BigPond broadband services as of yesterday.
According to the revised terms and conditions, now listed on the BigPond Web site, Telstra “will, if necessary, monitor services to make sure that our customers are complying with the Acceptable Use Policy (AUP)”.
Although quick to inform customers that this does not mean “we will be reading customer e-mails”, Telstra states that it will nevertheless reserve the right to monitor the size and quantity of e-mails being sent from an account suspected as “the source of abnormally high traffic levels which breaches the AUP”.
“If an account does appear to be the source of spam or virus related traffic and is therefore in breach of the AUP, we may suspend the account while the customer is contacted to rectify the security or spam issue,” the new conditions state.
Telstra states that it will also monitor a user’s e-mail service when required by a law enforcement agency.
The new AUP will now list details on what the telco considers to be unacceptable use of the broadband service. This includes creating or distributing spam, Trojans, worms and Denial of Service (DoS) attacks.
Telstra’s decision to beef up its anti-spam campaign follows a spate of e-mail service issues with its broadband and dial-up platforms which have occurred over recent months.
The telco’s crackdown on spam also comes as the Australian Federal Government awaits word from the Senate on the success of new spam legislation for Internet users.
Under the legislation, software used to harvest addresses and generate address lists for the purposes of sending spam will be banned. Courts will also be able to award compensation to businesses that have suffered from spamming, while also being able to recover profits made by spammers.
The new laws will be administered by the Australian Communications Authority (ACA), which will have the power to issue formal warnings, seek injunctions and seek court warrants to investigate and monitor suspected offenders.
The bill is expected to be read by a senate comittee and passed on Thursday. If then passed by the House of Representatives, the legislation will take effect from 2004.
According to Labor Senator Kate Lundy, Shadow Minister for Arts, Sport and Information Technology, the senate has put together a range of amendments to the anti-spam legislation, including limiting provisions which allow the ACA to search and seize an individual’s computer without their knowledge or consent, and without a warrant, as well as making exemptions to the regime more consistent by including trade unions and not-for-profit political lobby groups. However, representatives from the Howard Government have already indicated that they will not agree to the senate's amendments, a spokesperson for Senator Lundy said.
The spokesperson indicated that despite the set back, the Senator was hopeful of having the bill approved for the new year.