The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has fined Optus over $500,000 for breaching Australia's spam laws.
After an investigation by ACMA it was found that Optus breached the laws by continuing to send marketing emails and text messages to customer who had unsubscribed from them. It was also discovered that the telco was sending commercials emails that looked like billing notices and didn't have an unsubscribe button.
Optus has followed in Telstra's footsteps by simplifying its mobile plan offerings and scrapping restrictive lock-in contracts. Part of the overhaul includes the introduction of Optus One, a top-tier plan that comes with a slew of perks including 'network priority' during congested periods. Unfortunately this goes against the concept of net neutrality.
Optus is said to have blamed an IT issue for the customer spamming.
"Optus put to us that it was a systems failure and we would say it was beyond an IT systems failure, it was a failure in terms of their compliance processes, systems, the governance of what they were doing. They were of the view that their marketing lists had all been checked for compliance and they were fine. We found they weren’t," said Nerida O'Loughlin, Chair and Agency Head of ACMA.
According to the SMH, Optus has paid the $504,000 fine, which is the largest the organisation has ever handed down.
The SMH also reports that Optus will be appointing someone to independently review the telco's current policies and procedures in relation to spam laws. Any breaches will be reported to ACMA.
This news comes several months after Optus was slapped with a $9.2 million fine by the ACCC for sending customers misleading emails that made them believe their home broadband was about to be cut off. The email encouraged the 138,988 recipients to "make the switch" to an Optus NBN Broadband "before it's too late".
Gizmodo Australia has reached out to Optus to ascertain how the recent system error impacted both email and text messages on such a large scale.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has ordered Optus to pay a $6.4 million fine for misleading customers to believe their home broadband was about to be cut off. The announcement came minutes after the telco announced a new initiative to donate data to young Australians living in poverty.