Suspicions have been raised that an Australian business capitalised on the hacking of about 50,000 ABC user accounts by sending many of them an unsolicited marketing message.
Many people Fairfax Media has spoken to who received it say they did not sign up for it, and now evidence is mounting that the email distribution list used by Ausboots contained many of the hacked email addresses of those who signed up to the ABC's Making Australia Happy website.
The Making Australia Happy TV series website was hacked and its database posted online on February 27. Six days after the database was posted, Ausboots emailed its March newsletter.
Fairfax Media spoke to 10 people who received the Ausboots newsletter unsolicited, all of whom said they had signed up to the Making Australia Happy website.
Many who checked their subscription status to the Ausboots newsletter also noticed their postcode and state was listed – the same postcode and state they supplied to Making Australia Happy.
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Ausboots' Mrs Dennison has not responded to multiple attempts by Fairfax Media to contact her via email and phone. A Facebook message was also unanswered.
MailChimp, the US email service provider used to distribute the Ausboots newsletter, said on Saturday that on March 7 it shut down Ausboots' account "due to complaints".
"The account is currently under investigation and unable to send," MailChimp said.
MailChimp refused to say whether Ausboots sent its newsletter to email addresses gleaned from the hacked Making Australia Happy site.
Fairfax does not suggest Ausboots or Mrs Dennison mined the hacked ABC data for email addresses. It is possible Ausboots bought an email distribution list from a marketing firm and did not know it contained email addresses from a hacked ABC database.
The Australian Communications and Media Authority , the federal government's communications regulator, said on Friday that it was "aware of this potential issue".
"We can confirm that a very small number of the [Ausboots] messages have been forwarded to our spam reporting address email@example.com," ACMA said.
The Spam Act prohibits the sending of unsolicited commercial electronic messages - known as spam - with an Australian link.
ACMA could not confirm whether an investigation was under way but encouraged those who received the Ausboots newsletter unsolicited to report it to the authority.
ABC spokeswoman Sally Cray said the corporation would write to Ausboots.
"As you point out we will take a reasonable approach as they may have bought the details without any idea as to their source," Ms Cray said.
She said the ABC was not aware of any evidence that Ausboots used the ABC's hacked database to email users listed on it.
"The ABC have not been contacted by any of the affected audience members or by the ACMA," Ms Cray said.
The Ausboots issue was uncovered by Tim Bennett, administrator of the Small Night In forum.
Mr Bennett found many of his forum users complaining about receiving the email and at first he thought hackers might have infiltrated his forum. He called Mrs Dennison.
"I said I wanted to know how that could happen because their [email] addresses weren't supposed to be public. I didn't put anything to her, but I asked whether she could find out how they got on the list. She said (fairly closely), 'Well it could be a coincidence,' but didn't explain what she meant by that. She asked for the email addresses to find out how they got on the list."
He emailed her some forum users' addresses with their permission but hasn't had contact with her since.
He later found that those who had complained about receiving the email were the same as those who had been discussing on his forum the Making Australia Happy website.
Mr Bennett said his wife, who also signed up to the website and received the Ausboots newsletter, noticed that her postcode from 2010 (which has now changed) and state were listed in the online subscription status of the newsletter.
"So Ausboots didn't just have her email address, it had the same data that was in two other ABC database fields," he said. "I would say the odds of Ausboots emailing my wife in 2013 with postcode details from 2010 is an extraordinary coincidence."
Making Australia Happy was a popular TV series that aired in late 2010. Its database of 49,561 users was hacked and posted online last month and included details such as user names, email addresses and postcodes.