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02/27 ASIC protects consumers in chat room
The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has obtained final orders, by consent, in the Federal Court (Brisbane) requiring the removal of false and misleading information from an Internet website.
It is believed that ASIC’s action in relation to Mr Alan Miller and use of Internet Relay Chat is the first such action in the world by a securities regulator.
The Federal Court orders prevent Alan Miller of Toowong, Brisbane, the owner and operator of www.stocktracker.com.au, from posting any false and misleading information on his website or in Internet Relay Chat channels (chatrooms) in the future.
The orders also prevent Mr Miller from giving investment advice on websites and on any chatrooms without holding the appropriate licence. Mr Miller is required to state on his website that the ASX announcement he posted in relation to IPT Systems Limited was false and unauthorised and has been ordered to remove this announcement and place a copy of the court orders on his website.
Mr Miller is also prevented from using the metatags ‘stock market advice’, ‘trading advice’, ‘stock tips’, ‘online advice’ and ‘ASX’. These tags are used by Internet search engines to identify websites containing those phrases and to direct Internet users to those sites.
ASIC obtained interim court orders on 24 January 2002 following a live demonstration in court of the information at www.stocktracker.com.au.
‘ASIC acted swiftly to protect consumers and the integrity of the market’, ASIC’s Director of Enforcement Mr Allen Turton said.
‘The Internet provides investors with the resources and opportunities to become informed, however these benefits can be lost if it is used to spread false and misleading information.
‘ASIC recommends that investors check that financial advice is provided by a licenced financial adviser. You can do this on ASIC’s consumer protection website at www.fido.asic.gov.au’, Mr Turton said.
Mr Miller is also an ‘operator’ of an Internet Relay Chat (IRC) channel (#daytraders) in which he promotes his website.
ASIC’s investigation is continuing.