Canada's Anti-Spam Law (CASL) enters into force on
Canada Day, July 1. It was passed in 2010 as a
"made-in-Canada" solution to "drive spammers out of Canada".
Are you outside Canada? It's important to know that
this law reaches beyond Canada's
borders. CASL is already affecting businesses in
the United States, Europe and elsewhere as they change their
communications practices to send emails and other "commercial
electronic messages" into Canada.
As we described in our presentation Comparing CASL to CAN-SPAM, the new law
applies to messages that are accessed by a
computer system in Canada. That means that messages sent by a
person, business or organization outside of Canada, to a person in
Canada, are subject to the law.
CASL expressly provides for sharing information among the
Government of Canada, the Canadian CASL enforcement agencies, and
"the government of a foreign state" or international
organization, for the purposes of administering CASL's
anti-spam (and other) provisions. The MOU among the Canadian CASL enforcement
agencies (see also our earlier post) similarly references processes to share
and disseminate information received from and provided to their
foreign counterpart agencies.
In a speech yesterday, the Chair of the Canadian
Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, Jean-Pierre
Blais, emphasized the CRTC's cooperation with its
international counterparts to combat unlawful telemarketers,
hackers and spammers that "often operate outside our
borders". The Chairman specifically named "the
Federal Trade Commission in the U.S., the Office of Communication
(OFCOM) in the U.K., the Authority for Consumers and Markets in the
Netherlands, the Australian Communications and Media Authority and
others", and noted that the CRTC has led or participated in
many international networks on unlawful telecommunications.
Companies should also take note that a violation of CASL
might also result in the CRTC exercising its so-called
"name and shame" power, by posting the name of the
offender and the violation on its online compliance and
enforcement list. The CRTC has for years published notices of violation with respect to its
"Do Not Call List", and is expected to take a similar
approach for CASL notices of violation as well.
Companies that are working on their CASL compliance
programs should take note of the CRTC's recently published
Anti-Spam Compliance and Enforcement Guidelines. A very
helpful summary by Tim Banks, with a link to the
Guidelines, is available
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