Are mobile chat messages caught by Hong Kong's anti-spam law?
15 June 2016
In April this year, the Magistrates' Court of Hong Kong directed the defendant to disclose information on the sending of unsolicited group chat messages on a mobile messaging application. This confirms that mobile chat messages and potentially other forms of interactive messaging on social media would be subject to the anti-spam law of Hong Kong, the Unsolicited Electronic Messages Ordinance ("UEMO"). The regulatory authority, the Office of the Communications Authority ("OFCA"), received over 1,000 complaints about the sending of an identical, unsolicited short message promoting the defendant's tutor referral service via the mobile messaging platform. The defendant was investigated by the OFCA as to potential contravention of various requirements under the UEMO, including:
• Commercial electronic messages ("CEM") must include accurate sender information;
• CEMs must contain an unsubscribe facility;
• Senders must honour unsubscribe requests; and
• Senders must not send CEMs to a phone number listed on the do-not-call register.
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