Canada Introduces Anti-Spam Bill – More Teeth Than CAN-SPAM

The Conservative government in Canada has introduced anti-spam legislation  to help crack down on those who send unsolicited and potentially harmful emails and cellphone text messages.

The proposed Electronic Commerce Protection Act will deter the most dangerous forms of spam, spam-statssuch as identity theft, phishing and spyware from occurring in Canada and will help drive spammers out of Canada. The anti-spam bill is permission based and would allow individuals to sue suspected spammers.

This new anti-spam bill that has been introduced in the Canadian House of Commons may have significant ramifications for U.S. marketers.

The U.S. Can Spam Act does not require marketers to get permission from recipients before sending commercial email. Also, it allows ISPs to sue spammers but not individuals.

The bill would require U.S. based marketers to get permission from Canadian email address holders before sending commercial messages, it would exempt commercial e-mail sent to people with whom the sender has a business relationship. It would also exempt e-mail from one individual to another inquiring about the second individual’s business.

Marketers would have to honor opt outs within 10 days. However, the law does not specify 10 business days as the Can Spam Act does.

The unsubscribe mechanism would have to allow recipients to opt out electronically by providing either an email address to which they can reply or a hyperlink that takes them to an opt-out mechanism. The unsubscribe function would also have to remain active for at least 60 days after the mailing.

According to internet security firm Symantec’s report published in April, the volume of spam worldwide increased 192 per cent in 2008, from 119.6 billion messages in 2007 to 349.6 billion in 2008.

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