New anti-spam laws target a safer online world


It is expected that Canada's new Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) will come into force later this year, and with it will come significant changes for how businesses and individuals may send people "commercial electronic messages" (CEM), including emails or text messages.

CASL aims to create a safer online environment by targeting issues relating to spam, such as unsolicited commercial messages, phishing and unauthorized installation of software. While the global volume of spam has fallen in recent years, it still totals approximately 70 per cent of all email sent, and remains a key vehicle for identity theft and online fraud.

CASL will mark Canada's movement from an "opt-out" to an "opt-in" system for the receipt of CEM, or installation of software by third parties, based on expressed consent from the recipient. Fines for breaching prohibitions in CASL are significant, with organizations subject to up to $10 million, and individuals up to $1 million. CASL also creates the ability for individuals to sue offenders in their own capacity. However, while CASL is touted as one of the most stringent anti-spam laws in the world, the change may not be as rapid, or as stringent, as some have portrayed.

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