Oz law not bothered by hot mail

Late last week, Hotmail unwittingly distributed an advertisement among its 40 million worldwide users for a Chicago company offering to sell phoney tertiary qualifications over the internet.

According to Ninemsn official Aaron Stevenson, Hotmail's "terms of service" dictate that the free email service takes no responsibility for bulk content distributed via its channels.

However, Stevenson stipulated that Hotmail had recently implemented an anti-spamming function that enabled users to protect their email inboxes from bulk mail. The function stopped incoming email when the receiver's address appeared in the "bcc" (blind carbon copy) text box.

He admitted that Hotmail users who did not activate the anti-spamming function could, according to the company's terms of service, be sent advertisements for illegal organisations. Stevenson did not know how many Hotmail users had activated the anti-spamming function, or how many users had received the sham email advertisement.

Detective Frank Chaliro, spokesman for the NSW Police Service's computer crime division, conceded that there was no law prohibiting Hotmail from distributing the shady material.

He explained that fake university qualifications, whether distributed via email or in the street, were not illegal unless they were used for commercial gain. In fact, he said a NSW resident could legally purchase a fake US drivers' licence over the internet. The only breach of law would occur when the purchaser used the licence to drive, he said.

Similarly, Paul Childs, a spokesman for the Australian Department of Fair Trading, said the department could not reprimand Hotmail for distributing illegal material unless it received a large number of customer complaints. The department had not yet received a complaint relating to distribution of illegal material via bulk email, he said.

Meanwhile, Stuart Hamilton, executive director for the Australian Vice Chancellors' Committee, said that "anyone fooled into thinking these diplomas actually mean anything would not progress very far in a real university".

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Byron Kaye

PC World
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?