CASL - Canadian Anti Spam Legislation

Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation, put in place on July 1 2014, looks to remove spam agencies from Canadians inboxes. The new legislation put in place makes it a lot harder for businesses and agencies to send emails to users, without direct consent from the user to send the emails.

The new legislation does not only include email; instant messages, SMS, tweets, voice communication and private messages all count as spam, if the user has not given consent. This means all messages sent from a bu siness to a user can be brought up in a court case.

Businesses cannot make opt-in bundles and cannot pre-check boxes for sign-up messages, both are practices many companies try to pull off when getting users to download and sign-up for products, filling the user’s inbox with spam.

Any form of non-commercial content cannot contain hyper-links, this means if an email newsletter links to another service, it will be put under Canada’s anti-spam policy and the business could be subject to fines.

Contact information of the business must last at least 60 days after the email is sent. If a business or individual acting on a business moves before the 60 days, they can be subject to the anti-spam policy and might be fined.

For most companies, this will not be a huge problem. Newsletters and emails have become a troublesome way to get the message across and user’s do not “accidently” start following Twitter accounts, making the likelihood of someone getting tweets they didn’t want pretty low.

Canada will fine offenders up to $10 million and $200 per email sent without consent. This could be a huge issue for companies that rely heavily on email newsletters and other messages to get their product and advertising out there, but will not impact most web services.

Spam is obviously a big problem, but email services have become smarter in the past few years and detect spam easily. Google even offers their own unsubscribe button, when a user marks an email as spam, stopping the emails from coming to the user’s inbox.

SMS messages and instant messages could be troublesome for some users of social networks. This seems like more of a cleanup duty by Canada, but the companies that work on these unlawful practices do not seem the type that would show up in court when summoned.