McCarthy Tétrault recently hosted a webinar on Bill C-27, the Electronic Commerce Protection Act (ECPA), Canada’s proposed legislation to curtail spam and spyware. Partners Barry Sookman, Charles Morgan and Lorne Salzman discussed some of the issues with the current bill and its implications for Canadian businesses.
Barry Sookman outlined the objectives of the bill and discussed the anti-spam provisions, noting the broad prohibition against sending unsolicited commercial electronic messages in terms of the technology affected and the content captured. He observed that Bill 27, unlike anti-spam legislation in other jurisdictions, is not limited to messages sent with some element of fraud or misleading information, sent with an “intent to deceive or mislead,” sent to addresses that were gathered using “automated means,” or sent in bulk. Barry also provided some surprising examples of types of communications that might be classified as “spam” under the legislation, as currently drafted.
Charles Morgan then discussed the anti-spyware provisions that prohibit the installation of computer programs without the consent of the computer’s owner. In its current form, the bill could potentially impact software companies’ ability to deliver upgrades and patches to customers, Charles suggested. He also observed that the consent requirement could be problematic, as certain devices may not be capable of displaying consent forms and relaying consent. He then compared the ECPA anti-spyware provisions with legislation in other jurisdictions, where it is more curtailed.
Lastly, Lorne Salzman spoke about:
- the bill’s proposed amendments to the deceptive marketing provisions of the Competition Act to address false and misleading spam;
- the civil offences and liabilities under the ECPA, noting the significant administrative monetary penalties for violations of the ECPA;
- a new private right of action for violations of the ECPA and the spam-related prohibitions in the Competition Act; and
- the bill’s proposal to eventually apply the ECPA to voice calling, at which time the CRTC’s Do-Not-Call List (DNCL) will be ended.
To view the video, go to :http://www.mccarthy.ca/article_detail.aspx?id=4606