Government launches Anti-Spam website, but where's the beef?
As the expected proclamation in force of Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation nears, the Government recently announced the launch of a new “Fight Spam” website; however, the site currently provides only a high-level overview of the new law, rather than a detailed compliance guide for businesses.
Likely, there will continue to be some uncertainty with respect to the practical application of the new law to specific business scenarios, until the CRTC, the Competition Bureau and the Office of the Privacy Commissioner have had an opportunity to actually apply the law, hopefully providing some guidance to the business community through the ongoing publication of decision summaries or guidelines.
The new website appears to be intended to offer plain-language guidance to consumers and businesses with respect to the general requirements of the new law, offering overviews of the main provisions of the statute and the bodies charged with its enforcement. The site also includes a series of Frequently Asked Questions, advice as to how individuals and businesses can protect themselves against spam and other electronic threats and links to other resources, such as tips from the Office of Consumer Affairs on how users can recognize and protect themselves against phishing and spyware.
A placeholder link is provided to the yet-to-be created Spam Reporting Centre, a clearing house intended to identify and analyze trends in spam and other threats to electronic commerce, as well as identifying spammers and their locations and assisting in future prosecutions and civil proceedings against those who violate Canadian and international anti-spam laws. It is expected that the government will soon be issuing a Request for Proposals with respect to the operation of the Spam Reporting Centre.
Interestingly, in the government’s announcement for the website, it indicated, for the first time, that the Act will likely come into force “early in 2012.” Previously, it had been suggested that the statute would come into force in the fall of 2011.
Two sets of draft regulations associated with the Anti-Spam are open for comment. Comments on the regulations proposed by the Governor in council are due by September 7, 2011; comments on the regulations proposed by the CRTC are due by August 29, 2011.
UPDATE: On 15 August 2011, the CRTC extended the deadline for submission of comments on the Commission's draft Electronic Commerce Protection Regulations (CRTC) to 7 September 2011, to coincide with the deadline for comments respecting the related draft regulations proposed by the Governor in Council.