This article discusses the stiff anti-spam law passed recently in Canada. It also contrasts an important feature of Canada’s law, which is that it is an “opt-in” system, meaning that marketers in Canada are forbidden from just sending “cold” materials to consumers via email. The penalties for violation of the law in Canada are quite steep.
By contrast, most home-grown attempts to address the anti-spam problem legislatively preserve the marketers right to communicate in an unsolicited way with the consumer, placing it almost on a pedestal of free speech and fundamental democratic ideals. Note the quote in the subject article about the trade offs for living in a “free society.”
But, what happens when a society’s technologies are such that individuals can cause serious harm to an individual’s – or even large company’s – data and hardware housing that data, not to mention the financial loss caused from loss of productivity just for having to address the spamming efforts. We recognize it as a crime, yet are we not leaving a giant loophole in U.S. laws for spammers to continue their dirty work? Or, would adopting Canada’s approach stifle free enterprise?