What is the Canadian Anti Spam Law (CASL)?
The Canadian Anti Spam Law (CASL) was created to protect Canadian businesses and consumers from any form of spam or misuse of digital technology. With the existence of online communication, any participant can be subject to unwanted messages such as spam from businesses or potential hackers. CASL ensures that any misuse of digital technology, be it electronic messages or installation of computer programs, will not occur for consumers and businesses alike without their consent. Under this law, qualifications have been listed to outline the rules that justify the ways in which businesses can send electronic messages to and from Canadian residents.
How Does CASL Take Effect?
The Canadian Anti Spam Law ultimately deals with any “Commercial Electronic Message” (CEM) that is sent to or from a Canadian resident to their designated devices. These electronic messages primarily include email but further incorporate all forms of digital communication such as instant messaging, SMS texting, and social media messengers. In addition to the form of an electronic message, the content that is classified under a CEM is one that is promoting products on behalf of an individual, a company, a service or an organization. Essentially it is a message that is operating for commercial purposes. With this understanding, CASL is holding individuals and businesses liable for the content that they then disseminate to Canadian residents through electronic messages. If these email marketers are found liable for the misuse in sending messages without the recipient’s consent, they may be subject to paying fines as high as $10 million dollars per violation.
Ultimately, this law requires consent before any type of CEM is sent to Canadian residents. However, within this law there are exemptions in regards to the nature of the messages that are sent. Essentially these exemptions deal with personal and already existing communication lines with businesses. If there was an already established connection between the sender and the recipient, then there is more leeway and possible exemption from the CASL.
The most important qualification in regards to the nature of this law deals with consent. This law is designed to protect Canadian residents from receiving unsolicited electronic messages and installed programs that can lead to spam. The potential threat of these unwanted messages and programs could lead to malicious electronic threats. Spam is not only a nuisance for email users but there is ample opportunity for hackers to gain sensitive data and pose as legitimate businesses. Which is why CASL establishes a set of rules and regulations that prohibit any malware from occurring based on the understanding that there is implied or expressed consent on behalf of the user.
- Implied Consent: This form of consent deals with users having made an action of some sort that implies their cooperation with receiving additional materials. Essentially, there has to be some sort of initial contact made between the organization and the recipient in order for CEMs to continue.
- Express Consent: This form of consent is slightly different as it directly requires actions on behalf of both the sender and the recipient. The recipient will essentially have made an oral or written request to receive CEMs from the organization or the company. This is a direct request and as such represented an expressed consent from the recipient.