News Views: Just ask about spam

A new federal anti-spam law will restrict how businesses communicate electronically with current and prospective clients as of July 1.

Businesses will then be required to obtain direct consent before sending out commercial electronic messages – emails, texts and those through social media accounts – to clients or prospective customers.

The legislation also includes installation of computer programs, alteration of transmission data, and false, misleading electronic representations.

Without consent, businesses could face penalties ranging from written warnings to fines as high as $10 million.

Some think the rules are too strict, and unfair.

The original intent was to stop the spread of the most dangerous electronic messages, such as fraudulent marketing and installation of computer viruses.

Now specific information – a mailing address and name of the business sending the message – will have to be included, and a way to unsubscribe.

But Canadian businesses, specifically smaller ones, are complaining that the legislation will take away a valuable and affordable marketing tool.

They claim the legislation renders small businesses uncompetitive, while doing nothing to stop spam coming in from outside the country.

Enforcement is an issue. The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunication’s Commission has said it doesn’t have the resources to police all infractions and will focus on the most severe violations.

Concern exists that some businesses might not even realize they breaking the new rules, that they encourage less productive means of advertising.

What’s more productive than free?

Businesses can still use electronic means to spread their messages.

They just have to ask permission first.

– Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows News

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