Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Will Anti-Spam Legislation Put Spam Back In The Can?

If you have a computer with internet access, you receive SPAM. All that unwanted "junk mail" that clutters up you e-mail inbox is SPAM. The advertisements, the pleas, pledges and proposals, the prize notices – all this constitutes SPAM. Canada ranks as one of the leading countries for origination of SPAM. Current proposed legislation in Parliament has targeted SPAM but the business community has targeted the legislation.

The Electronic Commerce Protection Act, otherwise known as Bill C-27, will require a marketer to obtain implied or explicit consent from the consumer before sending them an e-mail. The Canadian Marketing Association (CMA), representing 800 of the nation's largest corporations, is lobbying MPs to change the proposed bill. The CMA is proposing that consumers should have to opt out of receiving commercial e-mail messages.

Supporters of the bill in Ottawa fear that an opt-out condition will water down the legislation and render it fairly useless. A similar action took place last year in legislation for telemarketing rules. Altering the bill caused it to have too many exceptions to make it practical to consumers.

The vast amount of SPAM that travels through the internet in Canada today undermines confidence in the internet as a platform for personal and business use. SPAM is considered by many to be an invasion of personal space and consumers are tired of being bombarded by advertisements that do not interest them but merely clutter up their e-mail.

While the business community has a strong vested interest in protecting this advertising option, MPs from both sides of the political arena are uniting to support this bill to protect consumers' rights. Ottawa wants to send a clear message that Canada will no longer be an international haven for SPAM.
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