Even though the (CASL) came into effect almost a year ago we are still getting a ton of questions about it, so we wanted to shed a little light on the subject. The intent of the new law is to deter damaging forms of spam and keeping folks safe while ensuring businesses can continue competing in the global marketplace.
Spam has grown from unsolicited commercial messages to identify theft and fraud against individuals and businesses. It now represents 75 to 90% of all email traffic and has the ability to slow down networks and infect software with malware that is used to operate networks of “zombie” computers without their owner’s knowledge. As a whole, spam imposes a heavy toll on network operators and users and can greatly reduce business and consumer confidence in the online marketplace.
Under the new law, prohibitions will include:
- Sending commercial electronic messages without a receiver’s consent (including social network sites, email and cell phone text messages)
- Installation of software programs without consent of the owner
- Using false online identities to promote products or services
- Collecting personal data through a computer system
More subtly, the new legislation will also have a bearing on how software is installed and updated on a computer.
All organizations, non-profits and charities will fall under Canada’s new legislation. If your business uses electronic channels to market your products or services, the new anti-spam law could affect you and your company may need to change the way it communicates electronically. Penalties can run up to $10 million for a business that violates CASL.
There are a number of practical steps that you can take to make sure your organization is under compliance with CASL’s rules. The first thing that your company should do is to create a list of all commercial electronic messages sent by your business, including mass text, email, instant message and social media messaging. You will also need to assemble a list of computer programs that your business directly or indirectly installs on any computing device that it doesn’t own.
Determine if the messages your company collected previously can be used after the new law comes into force. If not, obtaining new consent from the recipients on your business’s data base will be necessary, as well as finding out if you have an “existing business relationship” and how this can be beneficial from the three-year transition period included in CASL.
“Be sure that there is a systemized way to store all of the records for each consent that was obtained, including written and oral. Update all of your business’s templates to include all mandatory identity and contact info, as well as a amenable unsubscribe device.”
It is critical that your company and staff are prepared for the new anti-spam laws. With the proper steps and planning, you will be able to comply with the legislation and not have it affect the way your company communicates online.
If you have any questions regarding the new CASL please feel free to contact us using either our form or social media.