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of Computer Science,
Version of 15 December 1998
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This document is at
submission was made on this matter.
is provided on Robin Whittle's site.
15 December 1998
Mr J.P. O'Neill
Senior Assistant Commissioner
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission
P.O. Box 1199
Dickson ACT 2602
Dear Mr O'Neill
I refer to my previous written submission of 21 October, my verbal
submission of 26 November, and your request for further submissions.
I make the following additional comments:
- nothing subsequently provided by ADMA in written or verbal form
has in any manner changed the situation: far from conferring public
benefits, ADMA's code is seriously harmful to the consumer interest;
- the submissions of consumer and privacy interests groups have made
abundantly clear that ADMA has made serious misrepresentations to the
Commission concerning the extent to which it has undertaken
- the submissions of consumer and privacy interests groups have identified a
very large number of deficiencies in many different aspects of
- ADMA showed itself at the pre-decision conference to have no
interest whatsoever in modifying its code to address its many,
- a meaningful consultation process is essential.
Submissions need to be catalogued into generic, segment-specific and
clause-specific points; and a succession of workshops need to establish which
points are uncontroversial and which require debate, negotiation and
consensus-building. This requires the support of a
secretariat that is accepted by all parties as being
independent and trustworthy;
- the code does not reflect the public's great and still-growing concern
about outbound telemarketing, but simply assumes that
consumers' telephones and consumers' time are there to be plundered by
- the code demonstrates ADMA's abject failure to appreciate the nature of
the Internet, and of Internet marketing. In Mr Rob Edwards'
own words, this was merely "a starting-point for further negotiations"
(although consumer and privacy advocates would describe it as an 'ambit claim').
- In addition to the substantial amount of information provided in my paper
on 'Direct Marketing and Privacy' (previously submitted), I draw to your
attention the following further sources:
- Issues in Business-With-Consumer Electronic Commerce, which is a segment
of a paper completed on 22 November 1998 , at
- the statement by the Australian Computer Society (authored by myself, but
revised and approved by ACS Council), which is published in 'The Australian'
Computer Pages of today, 15 December 1998 (p.55), and available at
- The submissions by organisations with competence in relation to Internet
matters have urged the removal of Part D, as a completely inappropriate
approach to the matter;
- the code sets an extremely low hurdle even for members of ADMA. For
the large number of direct marketers that are non-members of
ADMA, approval of the code would be a signal that
their activities will not attract attention from the authorities unless they
are seen to be a great deal worse than the norms that fall within the code.
- it would be to the serious detriment of consumer interests in this country
were the Commission to approve the code, or any part of it;
- the case against the code is so overwhelming that approval of the code
would also be to the serious detriment of the Commission's reputation in
relation to its consumer protection responsibilities;
- the Commission should make clear to ADMA that for a code to be approved as
being in the public interest, it would have to be clearly the result of a
meaningful consultation process, and represent an effective balance between
consumer and privacy interests, and the economic interests of marketers.
contents-page for this segment.
an email to Roger
Created: 15 December 1998
Last Amended: 15 December 1998
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