Spam: Federal government clarifies new rules

By Donna Glasgow | September 21 2011 05:42PM

The federal government has outlined some of the measures that will be contained in its new anti-spam legislation. The Norton Rose law firm (formerly Ogilvy Renault) discussed the contents of the draft regulations in a recent report, and The Insurance and Investment Journal has obtained a copy. It is not yet known when the new rules will come into force.First of all, the draft version of the Electronic Commerce Protection Regulations defines the terms and conditions of consent for sending emails. Someone who has obtained permission from another person to send emails on his behalf must ensure that the message discloses the identity of the person from whom this permission was originally obtained. There must also be an exclusion mechanism that allows the recipient to unsubscribe. In addition, individuals who have obtained consent to send emails should ensure that anyone they have authorized to act on their behalf will notify them if consent is withdrawn. Finally, if consent is withdrawn, they must immediately inform the other people they have authorized to send emails on their behalf.

The federal government also believes that implied consent is presumed when there is already a "personal relationship" between the sender and the recipient. This definition includes membership in a club, association, or a volunteer organization, over the course of the past two years. What's more, the ban on sending spam does not apply to commercial electronic messages sent between people who have a "personal or family" relationship. The federal government says that a family relationship includes blood relationships, marriages, as well as common-law partnerships or ties through adoption. This rule also includes people who are connected by a blood relationship to a non-blood relative, such as a step-father or step-brother. As for personal relationships, it is defined as individuals who met in a non-business context and have remained in contact over the past two years.