Meet the Anti-Spam Laws From Around the World

By Monica Montesa

qimono / Pixabay

Even though the Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) has suspended the lawsuit provision that was supposed to go into effect on July 1, 2017, it serves as an important reminder for business owners of the regulations that exist around the world in an effort to combat spam.

A little bit of background

Earlier this year, it was announced that a provision was going to be added to CASL – one that would allow Canadian citizens to pursue legal action against an individual that sent a commercial electronic message without receiving prior consent from subscribers. Although the intentions of the lawsuit provision were meant to help the people of Canada and reduce the risk of harassment, identity theft and fraud, it was found to be too restricting for businesses, charities and non-profit groups sending emails. Even though the provision has been suspended, the Canadian government will go back to the drawing board to figure out ways to continue protecting consumers while also establishing fair guidelines for business owners.

Global anti-spam laws

The lawsuit provision in Canada may have seemed like a harsh punishment for spammers (including those who accidentally send spam and don’t even realize it), but it reminds us to consider the ways different countries around the world are addressing the growing issue. Depending on where you live, you’ll want to know the ins and outs of your country’s anti-spam laws (if they exist). Many of them have common rules in place – including providing unsubscribe links in your email and only sending honest and accurate information in your messages. As you learn more about the anti-spam laws in your country, keep an eye out for the following:

  • What are the specific things you should and should not do when sending an email?
    • Each law will detail what is required of businesses and organizations. Specifics will differ between countries.
  • Does the law or regulation cover more than just email?
    • While some countries have rules specifically about emails and spam, many laws also extend to other types of “commercial electronic messages” like texts, phone calls and in some cases, social posts.
  • What are the penalties for violating the anti-spam law(s)?
    • Breaching anti-spam laws can result in a monetary fine that ranges anywhere from thousands to millions. And in Italy, it can even be grounds for imprisonment!

Considering the hundreds of countries around the world, I won’t be listing all of them. But, here’s a list of some of the anti-spam laws around the world: United States: CAN-SPAM Act Canada: CASL Australia: Spam Act of 2003 New Zealand: Unsolicited Electronic Messages Act of 2007 European Union:Directive on Privacy and Electronic Communications