Struggle in Australia over anti-spam laws

Saturday, 29 November 2003, 9:14 AM EST

Opposition parties in Australia have watered down anti-spam legislation at a debate in the upper house of Canberra's parliament.

Australia's Senate, where Prime Minister John Howard's Liberal government is in a minority, accepted amendments to the legislation by the main opposition and minor parties which allow firms to send emails to anybody who they think may be interested in their products.

Communications Minister Daryl Williams, angered by the upper house's actions, said in a statement: "This is a giant loophole that unscrupulous spammers could not have designed better themselves."

The Australian government had wanted the legislation to ban the sending of all commercial emails without the prior consent of end-users, unless there was an existing business relationship.

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