Canadian Federal Goverment attempts to control spam

July 21st, 2009

Guest Blogger:Antonin Pribetic

Spam is electronic pollution. Just about everyone—except spammers, I suppose—hates spam. Trying to sift through legitimate emails in order to weed out unsolicited junk mail, advertising the latest generic pharmaceuticals or male enhancement products, is genuinely annoying, frustrating and time-consuming. How often have you received an email on behalf of a high level politician, diplomat or member of a royal household asking you for help in transferring millions of dollars frozen in an offshore bank account for a small fee? The problem is magnified in a busy office environment when valuable time is wasted and work productivity plummets.

In the environmental context, it is often said that: "the solution to pollution is dilution." While it is next to impossible to filter out all unwanted spam and phishing emails, the Canadian government is taking steps to deal with the problem. In January 2009, the Canadian Government tabled Bill C-27 "The Electronic Commerce Protection Act" (ECPA) addressing spam, counterfeit websites and spyware. The proposed legislation also amends the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA), which covers on-line privacy in detail and contains many provisions relevant to email marketing.

Alternative anti-spam legislation (S-220) is also going through Canada’s Senate. See the CAUCE update for info on the progress of the two alternative legislative proposals: http://cauce.org/archives/96-Canadian-Spam-Law-UPDATE.html

See also, Industry Canada ECPA Announcement dated April 24, 2009: http://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/ic1.nsf/eng/04595.html

The ECPA is currently in the House of Commons-Second Reading (in Committee):

http://www2.parl.gc.ca/Sites/LOP/LEGISINFO/index.asp?Language=E&Session=22&query=5800&List=toc

In the meantime, keep updating your spam or junk mail filters and keep exercising good old fashioned common sense. Remember the adage: "if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is."

Antonin I. Pribetic, B.A. (Hons.), LL.B., LL.M.,, MCIArb.
Litigation Counsel | Steinberg Morton Hope & Israel LLP
Yonge Norton Centre , 5255 Yonge Street | Suite 1100
Toronto | Ontario | Canada | M2N 6P4

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