Canada reintroducing anti-spam legislation

Today, media outlets are reporting that the Canadian federal government is reintroducing a previously set-aside Anti-spam legislation. Bill C-28 also known as the “Fighting Internet and Wireless Spam Act”, will be mostly identical to the previous version.

Similar to legislation already in place in other countries, the proposed legislation has provisions to prohibit sending commercial emails including text messages unless there is an expressed or implied consent from the recipient. In addition, the senders must identify themselves and the organizations/individuals they represent. Messages must also contain accurate contact information and provide an unsubscribe mechanism. The Bill includes provisions for making illegal the installation of email-sending programs unless express consent is given or it was given by a court order. My take is that this would make spam botnets explicitly illegal.

In the proposal, an individual can be fined up to $10,000 CAD in summary judgment for the first offense and up to $25,000 CAD for subsequent ones. For companies, the fines increase to $100,000 CAD and $250,000 for first and subsequent offenses. A court judgment can award up to $1 Million CAD each day for violations.

According to the reports, a spam-reporting center will be established to work with government enforcement agencies such that spam sites can be shut down.

Here in SophosLabs Canada, we’re watching intently to see what the final results will be. Hopefully, the law will be in force by the end of 2010 as described in the government’s news release. Further, we hope that when the legislation comes into effect, law enforcement agencies will leverage the power of Bill C-28 to stop spammers.