First Day of Summer? Time for a Spam Bill

We’ve blogged recently on studies showing the colossal waste of time and energy that spam causes. But fret not, the Honourable Tony Clement, Minister of Industry, today announced that the Government of Canada is delivering on its commitment to protect consumers and businesses from the most dangerous and damaging forms of spam. The proposed Electronic Commerce Protection Act (Bill C-27) will deter the most dangerous forms of spam, such as identity theft, phishing and spyware, from occurring in Canada and will help drive spammers out of Canada.

“Our government knows how damaging spam can be to Canadians and Canadian businesses and that is why we are cracking down on Internet fraud and other forms of malicious activities,” said Minister Clement. “With this landmark legislation, our government will help protect consumers from Internet spam and related threats and boost confidence in the electronic marketplace.”

There are five angles to enforcement:

the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), the Competition Bureau and the Office of the Privacy Commissioner would be given the authority to share information and evidence with their counterparts who enforce similar laws internationally, in order to pursue violators beyond our borders.

The proposed ECPA would enable the CRTC to impose administrative monetary penalties (AMPS) of up to $1 million for individuals and $10 million in all other cases.

The Competition Bureau would use a similar AMPS regime already provided for in the Competition Act.

The Office of the Privacy Commissioner would use its existing tools and enforcement framework to enforce the provisions of this legislation. The bill also proposes that the Privacy Commissioner’s powers to cooperate and exchange information with her counterparts be expanded, under the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act.

There will be a private right of action, modelled on U.S. legislation, which would allow businesses and consumers to take civil action against anyone who violates the ECPA. This extends to all forms of unsolicited commercial electronic messages, including unsolicited text messages, or “cellphone spam” .

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