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CRTC Targets the Dark Web Using CASL

The “dark web” sounds mysterious and dangerous. The dark web is described as a set of pages on the internet that cannot be indexed by search engines, further can not be viewed in a standard web browser, and typically require specialized software or network configurations in order to access. These pages commonly use encryption to provide anonymity for users.

There are marketplaces on the dark web where individuals buy and sell illicit goods and services.

One of the largest dark web marketplaces in the world was the Canadian Headquarters (or Canadian HQ). This site sold spamming services, phishing kits, stolen . . . [more]

Posted in: Intellectual Property

CASL Computer Program Prohibition Enforcement Benefits From Forensic Evidence

Section 8(1) of Canada’s Anti-Spam Law (CASL) prohibits the installation of a computer program on another person’s computer system without express consent. Compliance and Enforcement Decision CRTC 2022-132 dated May 19, 2022, indicates that this analysis is very technical and may in some circumstances require forensic computer evidence to make out a prosecution under this section of CASL.

In 2015, CRTC enforcement staff identified five Canadian Internet Protocol (IP) addresses linked to 1882914 Ontario Inc., operating as Datablocks Inc. and 2348149 Ontario Inc., operating as Sunlight Media Networks Inc. that appeared to be redirecting users to webpages hosting exploit kits. . . . [more]

Posted in: Intellectual Property

Retailer Settles CASL Violation Allegations for $200,000

On December 6, 2021, Gap Inc. (Gap) entered into an undertaking under Canada’s Anti Spam Law (CASL) to address allegations that it violated CASL.[1]

The undertaking resolves the allegations against Gap and its subsidiaries Banana Republic and Old Navy. Alleged were that Gap (and its subsidiaries) had sent commercial electronic messages without the consent of the recipients. A further allegation was that the messages did not include an unsubscribe mechanism that could be readily performed.

The terms of the undertaking require Gap to commit to updating its compliance program addressing the sending of commercial electronic messages. Elements of a . . . [more]

Posted in: Intellectual Property

CRTC Authorizes Broad Investigation Under CASL

The broad powers of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) were reinforced in the CRTC’s Compliance and Enforcement Decision CRTC 2020-196.

In the course of investigation of numerous complaints in relation to a short message service (SMS) phishing scam the person designated by the CRTC under Canada’s Anti-spam Law (CASL) (the “investigator”) issued a notice to produce to Hydro-Québec in relation to 10 service addresses and customer accounts.

Hydro-Québec is not the source of the SMS messages under investigation It is merely an innocent third party that has files that the investigator wants to review to assess the service, . . . [more]

Posted in: Intellectual Property

Individual Charged With $75,000 Penalty Under Canada’s Anti Spam Law (CASL)

On March 29, 2021 the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) issued a penalty of $75,000 under Canada’s Anti Spam Law (CASL) against an individual, Scott William Brewer, for what the CRTC described as a “series of high-volume spam campaigns”.

The CRTC alleged violations of S 6(1)(a), the requirement of consent, of CASL.[1]

The Notice of Violation alleged that Mr. Brewer committed three violations between 2015 and 21018 sending 671,342 commercial electronic messages without the consent of the recipients.

In its investigation the CRTC located no evidence that Mr. Brewer had obtained any consent from any of the recipients. . . . [more]

Posted in: Intellectual Property

Anti-Spam Enforcement Action Continues Under CASL

During the Covid-19 pandemic scams have not stopped and appear, by many accounts, to be on the rise. As a result, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has continued its enforcement action under Canada’s Anti-Spam Law[1] (CASL).

Most recently the CRTC conducted an investigation of Notesolution Inc. doing business as OneClass (OneClass). OneClass is an online educational platform for crowdsourced university course content. OneClass seeks to build a global interactive library for educational content across all levels of education.

The CTRC alleged that OneClass violated several provisions of CASL[2], namely violation of:

(a) the electronic communications . . . [more]

Posted in: Intellectual Property

CRTC Enforces CASL in Case of Malware Distribution

While there has been controversy about the enforcement of the electronic communication provisions of Canada’s Anti-Spam Law (CASL) due to the ambiguities of the complex scheme, there is widespread support for the anti-malware provisions. The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) recently enforced those anti-malware provisions against .Mr. Revesz and Mr. Griebel, the partners of Orcus Technologies, pursuant to section 22 of CASL, for a total penalty of $115,000.

The defendants have 30 days to file representations with the CRTC or pay the penalty.

The CRTC alleges that Orcus Technologies developed, distributed, promoted, and sold a Remote Administration Tool called . . . [more]

Posted in: Intellectual Property

Digital Intermediaries Can Be Responsible for Unknown CASL Violations– New CRTC Guidance on S. 9 Anti-Spam Compliance

Canada’s Anti-spam law (CASL) is ambiguous and very onerous to comply with. The Parliamentary INDU Committee, that studied the law, has made numerous recommendations in order to provide needed clarity to the law. In December 2017 their report stated “The Act and its regulations require clarifications to reduce the cost of compliance and better focus enforcement.” The Government has responded confirming they intended to act on the recommendations.

While we wait for that certainty the CRTC has issued a further Guidance document, Guidelines on the Commission’s approach to section 9 of Canada’s anti-spam legislation (CASL), Compliance and Enforcement Information . . . [more]

Posted in: Intellectual Property, Legal Marketing

CRTC Releases Onerous CASL Intermediary Bulletin

The CRTC just released a bulletin that goes to surprising lengths to impose liability on third parties for CASL violations. Lengths that may not be supported by the legislation.

It basically tries to turn intermediaries into enforcers. An approach this aggressive is surprising in light of the INDU committee report on CASL released in December 2017 that concluded in part: “The Act and its regulations require clarifications to reduce the cost of compliance and better focus enforcement.”

The bulletin is Compliance and Enforcement Information Bulletin CRTC 2018-415 Guidelines on the Commission’s approach to section 9 of Canada’s anti-spam legislation (CASL) . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Legislation, Technology

514-BILLETS Pays $100,000 – CASL Still Being Enforced After Critical Reviews

Canada’s Anti-Spam legislation (CASL) is a complex, onerous and ambiguous legislative system. The ambiguities were identified in a constitutional challenge that the CRTC acknowledged but ruled did not go to the point of undermining the legislative regime. Parliament’s 5 year review obtained considerable consultation identifying numerous compliance issues arising from the uncertainties that the law creates. The Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology report did identify a number of items where clarification would reduce the uncertainty with respect to the interpretation of many of the law’s provisions, as well as to avoid overly burdensome costs of compliance The government . . . [more]

Posted in: Intellectual Property

CRTC Compufinder Decision Lowers CASL Spam Penalty

The CRTC recently released 2 CASL decisions on Compufinder. If this sounds familiar, it is because this is an appeal from an initial finding in 2015 that levied a $1.1 million penalty.

Compufinder took the position that CASL is unconstitutional. Many legal experts have questioned the ability of the Federal Government to pass this legislation. The CRTC decided that CASL is constitutional. But this is not the last word. Inevitably this will be argued in court. This decision is required reading for anyone who finds themselves in a position to challenge the act in the courts. Ironically, the delay . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment, Substantive Law

CASL Private Right of Action Suspended – but CASL Is Still Here

The Canadian government has suspended the CASL private right of action that was to have come into force on July 1. The private right of action (most likely in the form of class actions) would have allowed people to sue anyone for sending spam. Or more accurately for those who violated the technical provisions of CASL.

This is a welcome move. But while we can breathe a sigh of relief that this remedy is gone, CASL still remains in force and must be complied with.

The government’s press release said:

Canadians deserve an effective law that protects them from spam . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Legislation