Privacy Commissioner’s Information Sheet: Interaction between the Privacy Act and the Spam Act
The Spam Act prohibits sending unsolicited commercial electronic messages ('spam'). The Act's coverage includes emails, instant messaging, SMS and MMS (text and image-based mobile phone messaging) of a commercial nature.
The Spam Act applies to any commercial electronic message with an Australian link, regardless of the size of the business that sent the message. This includes emails sent to anonymous email addresses, where the identity of the individual cannot be reasonably ascertained. The Spam Act partially exempts messages that contain purely factual material.
The Privacy Act may also regulate such activity where it involves the use of 'personal information' by private sector organisations that fall within its jurisdiction. Information is only 'personal information' if the organisation can identify or reasonably ascertain the identity of the individual to which it relates.