Canada’s anti-spam laws take effect this week

canada's anti-spam lawsSome of our Canadian readers may have noticed a sudden glut of emails from websites, mailing lists and so forth which include an opt-in link. Surprise! It’s not a phishing scam! These emails are legitimate communiques from any organization you might deal with who is based in Canada.

The reason these emails have been going out is that Canada’s new anti-spam laws are scheduled to take effect this week. Michael Geist has a great write-up on his newly redesigned website which explains what’s going on:

“The biggest substantive change in the law  comes from the requirement for express consent. Express consent requires disclosing the purposes for why consent is being requested and identifying who is seeking consent. This represents a significant change from current practice, where businesses have frequently relied upon “implied” consent for their use of personal information.”

Geist hastens to add that the three-year transition period won’t lead to a sudden halt in email communications. But it does mean that Canadians will increasingly be asked to take some extra steps if they actually do want to receive these messages. If you get an email from any organization you deal with (I got one from my bank!) read it carefully. It may be that the ‘click here to opt in’ link is legit!

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