[Spam] Maria is online now, waiting for an indictable conviction
I receive an email every few months or so from a photography studio in my neighborhood, a company which got my name from a time when my kid played soccer and they took the team photo, but never actually asked for my permission to send me emails. Bill C-28, which is set to become law in Canada mid- 2012, is very strict on the use of unsolicited emails (Hereinafter referred to as Spam). Under the new law, the neighborhood photography studio could be penalized up to one million dollars a day, or ten million dollars a day if they are a registered corporation. The fines are heavy and the law is designed to eliminate spam.
There is no minimum number of people required to be convicted – if you send out even one unauthorized spam email, it can be enough for a conviction.
The law applies to Commercial Electronic Messages (CEMs) – including email, messenger (AIM) and texting – that is either sent from or received by a Canadian device. American spammers are not immune and the law will have the full co-operation of American legal authorities.
Cookies or Tracking Pixels utilized to Retarget, build customer profiles, or trace internet surfing habits will be illegal. The sending of mass emails without express consent of the sender will also be illegal. In the case of express consent, the burden of proof is on the sender, so expect to see re-confirmation of this permission to commonly appear over the new year. Existing Business Relationships (EBRs) are also an exception, but there are definite time limits, ie 2 years since last purchase or 6 months since last product inquiry.
Email messages must identify the sender. The subject line must be representative of the message content. Messages must include the sender’s contact information (email, mailing address and phone number) which must be active for at least 60 days after message is sent. (note in the case of text messages, the phone number requirement has been dropped).
Email messages must include a conspicuous, simple, functioning unsubscribe mechanism. If unsubscribed, the request must be processed within ten days.
The bill is still a work-in-progress, and we are encouraged to seek legal counsel on this whenever the final bill becomes law. The current version can be found here.
The new law will severely change the way that a number of business-to-business firms prospect, especially list brokers that I find are increasingly finding my name on a list and offering me their expertise – which I did not ask for. I hope the government widely distributes an email address where unsolicited spam can be forwarded and investigated. I worry about the bandwidth in law enforcement to actually investigate and prosecute so many offenders, but hopefully the penalties are steep enough to curtail many offenders. Personally I look forward to this legislation and hope that it severely limits my options to buy B to B lists, Viagra, and Russian brides.