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New anti-spam law to go into effect in July

Minister of Industry James Moore has announced that a new federal anti-spam law will come into force on July 1, 2014. Bill C-28 was passed by Parliament in December 2010. The legislation is intended to deter the sending of the most damaging and deceptive forms of spam, such as that used for identity theft, phishing and spyware delivery.

As of July 1, companies will have to identify themselves in their emails and provide a way to unsubscribe from receiving further messages, even when the recipient has given consent to be contacted. Senders that do not comply will risk what the ministry describes as "major financial penalties." In addition, Canadians will be able to report violations and file complaints regarding false or misleading online business claims via a website at <http://fightspam.gc.ca>.

Accessing computer systems to collect personal information or email addresses will be a violation under the act. The sections of the act related to the unsolicited installation of computer programs or software will come into force on Jan. 15, 2015.

Business-related messages sent internally or to another business will be permitted. Email sent as part of a product recall, in response to a consumer inquiry or as a result of a referral may also be allowed. Canadian charities will be able to continue fundraising as before.

The law will be enforced jointly by the CRTC, the Competition Bureau and the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada. These organizations will share information with international bodies to track spammers outside of Canada.

"Our government does not believe Canadians should receive emails they do not want or did not ask to receive," said Moore. "These legislative measures will protect consumers from spam and other threats that lead to harassment, identity theft and fraud. We are prohibiting unsolicited text messages, including cellphone spam, and giving Canadian businesses clarity so they can continue to compete in the online marketplace."

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