Recently fellow influencer Bob Frady talked about “Why CASL is Bad Law“ and one that really isn’t going to stop spam. Canada ranks as the number 7 global source for spam, producing about 4% of all the spam tracked in the world according to SpamRankings.net. While this pales in comparison to the 38.9% of Global Spam originating from the United States, it is still a major problem and represents a significant threat to consumer privacy.
I’m just going to jump right in and address Bob’s concerns and criticisms about CASL:
1 - While CASL does not explicitly define spam it does provides a clear scope on what would be considered violation of the law - any commercial electronic messages sent without permission, identification, contact information, and preference management solutions. This definition may better describe a consumer protection and privacy law than an anti-spam law, but that is because CASL is more than just an anti-spam law. CASL covers many other privacy related issues that include the installation of computer programs and unauthorized manipulation of data, thus formally including protections such as malware, phishing, and man-in-the-middle type attacks.
"What's in a name?". The actual name of CASL is: "An Act to promote the efficiency and adaptability of the Canadian economy by regulating certain activities that discourage reliance on electronic means of carrying out commercial activities, and to amend the Canadian Radio television and Telecommunications Commission Act, the Competition Act, the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act and the Telecommunications Act." During the review process for CASL and its predecessors’ laws, ECPA (Electronic Consumer Protection Act) and FISA (Fighting Internet and Spam Abuse), the two previous short names for the law, were struck down by the review committee. This left the marketing industry to provide a convenient and easily recognizable name for the act, which resulted in this new nickname for the law. After reviewing the long name and the two original short names, the intention of the Act is likely more in line with the consumer protection aspects of the law than the adopted name for Canada's Anti-Spam Law (CASL).
2 - CASL's challenges hardly stem from lack of trying to get off the ground - over a 10 year process, Canada went to the polls three times and the government took an Olympic hiatus which caused the three previous attempts to pass similar legislation to restart. While the technological revolution has been ongoing during these times, so has the legislation and the requirements of the law. The law was made to be technologically neutral, saving the need to reopen the books for future technologies like social media which is not covered by CAN-SPAM.