NO SUP­PORT FOR SPAM

CRTC says it may toughen up its anti-spam rules and looks to ‘le­git­i­mate mar­keters’ to back them up,

Toronto Star - - CLASSIFIED - MICHAEL LEWIS BUSI­NESS REPORTER

Canada’s anti-spam rules are aren’t go­ing away and if any­thing will prob­a­bly to get tougher, the head of the fed­eral broad­cast and tele­com watch­dog said Tues­day.

“Le­git­i­mate mar­keters should wel­come them,” Cana­dian Ra­dio-tele­vi­sion and Telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions Com­mis­sion (CRTC) chair Jean-Pierre Blais said at a Cana­dian Mar­ket­ing As­so­ci­a­tion (CMA) event in Toronto.

“They give you guide­lines by which to ply your dif­fi­cult trade and they help ex­pose the scam­mers whose prac­tices di­min­ish your pro­fes­sion in the eyes of Cana­di­ans — the very con­sumers you’re try­ing to ap­peal to.”

Blais said the as­so­ci­a­tion’s sup­port is crit­i­cal in the fight against un­wanted com­mer­cial elec­tronic mes­sag­ing which, along with po­ten­tially run­ning afoul of pri­vacy laws, can cir­cu­late hos­tile soft­ware to com­pro­mise sen­si­tive in­for­ma­tion such as In­ter­net user­names and pass­words.

“We must con­tinue work­ing — to­gether and on our own — to give Cana­di­ans what they have asked for,” Blais said.

“They’ve asked you le­git­i­mate mar­keters to com­ply with the terms of the un­so­licited telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions rules and Canada’s anti-spam leg­isla- tion. And through their elected rep­re­sen­ta­tives, they’ve asked the CRTC to en­force those rules and that law.”

CMA chief mar­ket­ing of­fi­cer Tim Bishop said the or­ga­ni­za­tion is do­ing its best to pro­mote un­der­stand­ing of the leg­is­la­tion and rules meant to pro­tect con­sumers.

He sug­gested that com­pli­ance is a mat­ter of self in­ter­est, in part be­cause penal­ties for anti-spam vi­o­la­tions range from $1mil­lion for indi- vid­u­als to a max­i­mum of $10 mil­lion for busi­nesses.

Canada’s anti-spam law, which en­tered into force in 2014, re­quires ex­pressed con­sent be­fore busi­nesses send com­mer­cial elec­tronic mes­sages and con­sumers must have a way to opt out.

Sec­tions of the leg­is­la­tion re­lated to the un­so­licited in­stal­la­tion of com­puter pro­grams or soft­ware were im­ple­mented in Jan­uary, mak­ing it il­le­gal to in­stall pro­grams with­out a user’s con­sent.

In July 2017, the law will also al­low in­di­vid­u­als to bring a so-called pri­vate right of ac­tion in court against en­ti­ties they al­lege have been con­nected with spam or mal­ware and to seek dam­ages.

Blais, mean­while, said it’s too early to tell if TV ser­vice providers are fully abid­ing with the CRTC’s ca­ble regulation im­ple­mented in March that man­dates a “skinny ba­sic” chan­nel pack­age capped at an af­ford­able $25 per month.

Some con­sumers have com­plained to the com­mis­sion over the value of the ba­sic pack­ages, say­ing that once equip­ment rentals charges are added and bundling dis­counts sub­tracted the prices may be higher than ex­ist­ing en­try level of­fer­ings.

Blais said Cana­di­ans must be will­ing to ne­go­ti­ate terms with their ca­ble, satel­lite and In­ter­net-pro­to­col providers and switch car­ri­ers if need be.

NATHAN DENETTE/THE CANA­DIAN PRESS

CRTC chair­man Jean-Pierre Blais says Canada’s anti-spam rules may get tougher and that “le­git­i­mate mar­keters should wel­come them.”

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