Funny Internet Spam for eMail and Websites is Spicy by epSos .de (CC BY 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/dAPegg
The government released its response to the House of Commons study on Canada’s anti-spam law this week and while one report suggested that reforms are coming, the reality is that there appears to be little appetite for significant change. I wrote about the law’s effectiveness and appeared before the committee as part of the study. The committee report stopped short of calling for an anti-spam law overhaul, instead recommending clarifications of several provisions in the law.
The Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology has released its final report on CASL, Canada’s anti-spam legislation. While some groups pleaded for a legislative overhaul – Scott Smith of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce “urge[d] this committee to take a stand on this legislation and make recommendations for a significant overhaul” – the committee adopted a far more cautious tone, limiting the recommendations on substantive provisions to “clarifications” of the law. The emphasis on clarification (it even appears in the study title) is clearly intentional, stopping short of specifying any precise legislative amendments. I appeared before the committee, arguing that spam and spyware pose real risks and that there is evidence that the law has been effective in reducing spam and improving the effectiveness of electronic marketing.
Few Canadian laws have sparked as much animosity from the business community as Canada’s anti-spam legislation (CASL). The law, which took effect in 2014, has faced a barrage of complaints regarding its breadth and cost of implementation. Yet as a House of Commons committee nears the conclusion of a statutorily-mandated CASL review, it has become increasingly clear that the law has worked.
My Globe and Mail op-ed notes that while spam has obviously not disappeared from anyone’s inbox, the law never envisioned eradicating the proliferation of spam, spyware, malware, and other online ills. Rather, new data disclosed at the committee review reveal that Canada is a now a world anti-spam leader, resulting in more effective e-commerce campaigns and a significant reduction in the number of spam organizations operating within Canada.
The Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology is conducting a review of CASL, Canada’s anti-spam law. While the usual critics are out in full force, I had the opportunity to appear before the committee yesterday to explain why there is real harm, why CASL has helped solve the problem, and why claims that the law is overbroad are overstated. Of particular note was the discussion involving the significant decline in the number of major spamming organizations operating in Canada since the law took effect. Three years ago, Spamhaus’ Register of Known Spamming Organizations listed Canada as home to 7 of the top 100 spamming organizations worldwide (who are responsible for 80% of global spam). Canada’s presence on the ROKSO list has been dramatically reduced with only two Canadian-based organizations remaining on the list, suggesting that spam originating in Canada has experienced a significant decline. My full opening remarks are posted below.