Michael Geist loves Canada’s anti-spam law (CASL). He was one of the first witnesses called by the Government to support it (then Bill C-27) when it came before the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology. He told the Committee to resist attempts to change it. He later urged Minister Moore not to listen to the tsunami from across all sectors of Canadian society to fix CASL calling the criticisms Festivus grievances, Now that CASL is law and the public is ridiculing it calling it, among other things, a Monty-Python-esque farce and Spamaflop, deeply stupid, and a sledgehammer that is ludicrous regulatory overkill, he once again tries to defend it. If anyone could defend CASL, it would be Michael Geist. However, CASL is indefensible and his attempts to defend it clearly show there is no policy basis on which it can be justified and that It should be scrapped or amended.
Posts Tagged ‘CASL’
The first week under Canada’s anti-spam legislation (CASL) is nearly over. The media and blogosphere gave CASL a lot of coverage. Much of it was negative. Here is a summary of some of the highlights.
I was interviewed on The Current, Metro Morning, and CJAD Radio. The Current and Metro Morning radio shows also featured individuals who voiced concerns about CASL’s impacts on small businesses. Michael Geist was also interviewed on The Current. He defended CASL claiming it was not onerous for small businesses who were already collecting express consents under PIPEDA. Peter Nowak also defended CASL in a post in Canadian Business Why Canada’s Anti-Spam Law won’t harm small businesses.
CASL’s rules apply to any person that sends commercial electronic messages to members of the public including charities and other not for profit organizations. The indiscriminate targeting of everyone from real spam culprits to genuine commercial communications is one of the reasons that Terrance Corcoran from the Financial Post recently called Canada’s new anti-spam law “a Monty-Python-esque farce”.
CASL, in its present form, should never have targeted charities or not for profit organizations. According to some, CASL punishes charities for no good reason.
Check out Terrence Corcoran’s opinion article on CASL in this morning’s Financial Post: Spamaflop! Why Ottawa’s spam ban law is absurd and should be overturned. Here are a few choice quotes:
“I could say that Canada’s new anti-spam law is both horrifying and stupid, but Mark Joseph Stern, writing in Slate Magazine, already said that the other day. One could also call it absurd, interventionist, controlling, costly, offense and an all-too-typical Tory mega-solution to a mostly non-problem.”
The “anti-spam” portion of Canada’s anti-spam/spyware law (CASL) comes into effect on July 1, 2014. Most organizations are having very difficult times adapting to CASL’s confusing and prescriptive rules. According to a recent mini-survey conducted by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce of over 160 of its members, from responses to questions answered over 90% of Canadian organizations believe that CASL should be scrapped, amended, or at least be subject to a Parliamentary review before it becomes law. Over 80% believe it will not be effective against the most harmful sources of spam. 63% believe that it will make business more difficult for them. Most believe CASL’s consent, disclosure and unsubscribe requirements are disproportionate and unreasonable. 56% believe CASL will impede the creation of a business environment driven by entrepreneurs that encourages jobs, growth and long term prosperity for Canadians.
Many businesses are in the midst of trying to become CASL compliant. They hate it. As I explained in a previous post, CASL will hit the SME sector very hard. According to a recent article about it in the Globe:
Marketers big and small facing this legislative change are criticizing it as costly to implement, penalizing to small businesses, and not targeted enough at the spammers who are the real problem in the world of e-mail advertising.
The CRTC has published materials recently used in public Information Sessions on Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL). The materials consist of a video and transcript of one of the information sessions as well as slides. The transcript did not include answers given to questions from the public at the information sessions.
Much of the information provided had already been published by the Commission. However, some of the information was new or had elements that were new. The following are some examples.
Earlier today, the CRTC released a new set of FAQs related to CASL. The topics covered are set out below. I will be providing comments on these FAQs in subsequent blog posts.
Coming Into Force
When does the legislation come into force?Will the coming-into-force dates and the compliance date be different?
Once the law comes into force, how does it affect consent?
What are the penalties for committing a violation under CASL?Can directors and officers be liable too?
Does the legislation prohibit me from sending marketing messages? When does section 6 of CASL apply?
Last Wednesday I had the pleasure of chairing a conference on Canada’s anti-spam/spyware law (CASL). The Lexpert conference covered the anti-spam, computer program and Competition Act aspects of the new law. The speakers brought useful insights into interpreting CASL and its regulations as well as practical guidance on implementing compliance programs. The slides from some of the speakers are set out below.
The conference was attended by Philip Palmer, a former Justice Canada lawyer and one of the individuals who played a lead role in drafting CASL and the initial regulations. He was on an “Ask the Experts” panel with David Canton and I. In the course of the conference and during the panel discussion he provided some helpful personal opinions about CASL that are worth sharing. Among them:
On May 1, I participated in a vigorous discussion on the constitutionality of CASL at the 17th Biennial National Conference on Communications Law and Policy hosted by the Law Society of Upper Canada and the Canadian Bar Association in Ottawa. My talk was on whether CASL could survive a Charter challenge based on freedom of expression grounds. I focused on the recent United Food decision at the Supreme Court of Canada, which struck down the Alberta Personal Information Protection Act for disproportionately impinging on expression rights in order to achieve privacy objectives, and pointed out that CASL might also fall to a similar challenge. Further, I commented on the possibility that even if CASL were found to be Charter-compliant, its implementation by the CRTC and other regulators still might not pass Charter muster, a point raised by the recent Doré decision at the Supreme Court. My slides are shown below.