CRTC Publishes Guidelines for Anti-Spam Regulations

Nearly two years ago — a lifetime on the internet — Royal Assent was given to Canada’s anti-spam law (otherwise known as An Act to promote the efficiency and adaptability of the Canadian economy by regulating certain activities that discourage reliance on electronic means of carrying out commercial activities, and to amend the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission Act, the Competition Act, the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act and the Telecommunications Act, S.C. 2010, c. 23. The CRTC was given power to make regulations under the Act, which it has done, although they have not yet been proclaimed in force. Now the CRTC has published some guidelines to clarify and, indeed, give concrete examples of how to comply with the regs respecting the sending of “commercial electronic messages” (CEMs) and “the installation of computer programs on another person’s computer system, in the course of a commercial activity.”

The Guidelines offer illustrations of practices that that would be acceptable under the law, with the hope, and perhaps the expectation, that, offered clear routes through the ambiguities and uncertainties of the legislation, commercial entities will take them. Thus, for example, the Commission recommends as an unsubscribe mechanism that there be a link in the email that would take the recipient to a web page such as this:

There are similar concrete suggestions throughout these Guidelines — and those published at the same time on “the use of toggling as a means of obtaining express consent” (i.e. a kind of “negative billing” option).

Anti-spam legislation has been the subject of much discussion on Slaw. Here’s a link to more than two dozen entries on the topic since 2008.

[hat tip: @CBAnatmag]

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