Thursday, June 08, 2017

Government having 2nd thoughts about "private right of action" in CASL

Part of the next phase of Canada's anti-spam legislation (CASL) has been postponed in the face of nervous lobbying by industry.According to a report in the Globe and Mail, the federal government has frozen the provision as of July 1 allowing consumers to take individual legal action against businesses for violating the act. And the government has asked that a parliamentary committee review the legislation; this may wind up doing away with individual lawsuits, although retaining other provisions and prosecutions already in force. 

CASL came into effect in 2014, requiring marketers to have consent to send electronic messages to consumersand  empowering the CRTC to impose fines of up to $10 million for businesses offending the act. Starting in 2015, marketers had to ensure their apps wouldn't infect recipients systems with malware. The July phase this year would have allowed people and organization to take violators to court and seek damages.

Publishers and industry associations were among those lobbying against imposition of some aspects of the law such as "private right of action" because it complicates normal and longstanding direct mail practices on which magazines have relied.However one part of the law that will continue to take effect on July 1 is the end of a three-year grace period for companies to prove they have consent to contact everyone on their marketing lists.

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