Spammers targeted in Internal Affairs raids


Four properties have been raided by the Department of Internal Affairs as part of a large international spamming investigation.

Boxes of documents and 22 computers were seized during the Christchurch raids.

The recently-created Anti-Spam Unit is checking claims that a Christchurch business organised professional spamming operations around the world to send spam on its behalf. The unsolicited emails focussed on pharmaceutical products and watches.

Four warrants were executed simultaneously and two businessmen have been interviewed by the spam enforcement team's investigators.

Keith Manch, Internal Affairs deputy secretary, said the unit had been working with international agencies for two months gathering evidence on the operation when a BBC new report alerted the spamming business.

A team from across the Department executed four search warrants simultaneously and two businessmen have been interviewed by the anti-spam investigators.

Internal Affairs Deputy Secretary, Keith Manch, said the Anti-Spam Unit had been working with international agencies for two months gathering evidence on the spamming operation, when a BBC news report alerted the business to the investigation.

"We had to move quickly to capture evidence supporting the spamming allegations, obtaining search warrants and mobilising search teams," he said in a statement today.

We will now assess the information obtained from the computers, documents and interviews before deciding what action will follow.

New Zealand introduced anti-spam law on 5 September 2007. The Unsolicited Electronic Messages Act 2007 defines spam as "unsolicited, commercial, electronic messages", and sets out the rules for sending commercial electronic messages legitimately.

Individuals who breach the Act can face fines up to $200,000, and organisations face a maximum fine of $500,000.

The vast majority of spam received in New Zealand comes from overseas, in particular the United States and Eastern Bloc countries.

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