Canada’s anti-spam legislation: Navigating through the new law

Spam is something that many companies have aggressively countered in their IT departments, but some breaches of this security still occur and computers are infected with viruses.

The advent of the internet positively affected businesses in all sectors, but a few annoying and sometimes cost-adding problems arose that have bothered people working in IT jobs for years. One of these issues, email spam, is something that was recently addressed by Canada through the passage of legislation regarding the unsolicited messages.

IT Business Canada reported that the security vendor Symantec Corp. has estimated that roughly nine out of 10 emails are considered spam, and the majority of these messages are sent by botnets, networks of computers that have usually been infected by a trojan virus and used to send out email messages involuntarily.

According to the news outlet, spam is something that many companies have aggressively countered in their IT departments, but some breaches of this security still occur and computers are infected with viruses.

The new law, which was finalized on March 28, 2012, has begun to influence the market, as the Canadian government is looking to enforce the new policies in the coming weeks. This means that companies in the country will have to adapt their email practices or face stiff penalties.

IT Business Canada reported that Canada’s Bill C-28 is something that is needed in the country, but experts have noted that a $700,000 spam reporting centre may be nothing more than “window dressing.”

Government agencies that are looking to police the internet and enforce the law are still working out the details of how to coordinate activities, but once this reorganization occurs, the legislation will be among the toughest in the world regarding spam.

Spammers will face up to a $10 million fine under the new law, and violators could face even stiffer penalties if damage is caused or multiple incidents are reported, according to the news source.

The Financial Post reported that some people within the tech industry have noted that the law could be going too far.

“The big-picture concern for business is that the law goes too far and over-regulates by catching what many consider to be legitimate electronic marketing initiatives,” David Elder, a lawyer based in Ottawa, told the news source. “Aggravating the situation is the continuing lack of clarity about what ‘commercial electronic message’ actually means.”

The Post reported that normal email messages to clients could be placed into a “grey area,” and there will likely be a few kinks that will need to be worked out of the law.

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