Stupid Media Watch: Where the Heck Have You Been?
By Ken Magill
Canada’s Globe and Mail newspaper published an editorial today decrying the country’s new anti-spam law passed in 2010 and set to go into effect sometime this year.
Umm, better late than never, I guess.
“[T]he well-intentioned act of Parliament commonly known as Canada’s anti-spam law overreaches in more than one way, unduly weighing down electronic commerce, and potentially affecting many Canadian companies – including The Globe and Mail, in its interactions with readers,” the editorial said.
Uh, gee George. Ya think?
Oh, wait. We’re talking about newspaper editors here, a group that is by and large criminally ignorant of how crucial direct marketing is for keeping their employers in business. Someone from the business side of the Globe and Mail must have gone out for a few beers with someone influential in editorial.
“The core of the act is a prohibition against sending a commercial electronic message, unless the addressee has already agreed to receive it – either explicitly, in writing, or implicitly,” the editorial said. “The act limits that implied consent; by far the most common form it could take would be ‘an existing business relationship,’ such as a continuing contract.
“In the Internet age, that is a very narrow criterion. Large numbers of people may frequently visit a website without having a contract – such as a paid subscription. In order to do business in the 21st century, companies legitimately want and need to engage and communicate back and forth with their customers and their potential customers.”
The editorial then outlines the astronomical penalties made possible by the new law: “up to $1-million for an individual, and up to $10-million for a corporation – seemingly for each violation.
“All this adds to the already heavy regulatory burden on Canadian companies, putting them at a disadvantage to foreign spammers, the real culprits – who are untouched by CASL [as Canada’s anti-spam law is referred to].
“So far, the government’s draft regulations offer little or no relief from this draconian scheme. The apparent hesitation to proclaim CASL in force may be encouraging,” the editorial said.
“The Canadian economy would benefit from a more balanced, accommodating approach to the commerce of the future.”
This law has been under consideration for how many years? Hint: It was passed in 2010.
And The Globe and Mail complains about it now?