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Letter: Anti-spam rules ‘using a sledgehammer to kill a flea’

By: Letter to the Editor

 | Jun 26, 2014 - 11:58 AM |
Big brother government is once again saving us from ourselves, it would appear, with the soon-to-be-implemented comprehensive anti-scam legislation. It is really a case of too much protection too late, as the government attempts to solve a now almost-nonexistent problem, using a sledgehammer to kill a flea.

At one time, scamming was a considerable nuisance, with e-mail boxes full of unwanted solicitation. However, virtually all has been eliminated by more sophisticated e-mail programs, and only the occasional request gets through.

On July 1, not only Canadian businesses and non-profit organizations, but some levels of government are being forced to go through elaborate processes to get permission to send legitimate correspondence.

The process is so complicated in some cases that even lawyers are having a difficult time to explain the detailed formulas.

Is this a plot, some have suggested, to encourage or force more use of Canada Post, or perhaps to raise government revenues, as the fines for not complying are significant up to $1 million for individuals and $10 million for organizations. Should we all be very, very afraid?

Not likely, as both the Competition Bureau and the Canadian Radio and Television Commission (CRTC), charged with administration of the new draconian measures, are notoriously slow-moving in enforcing any of their mandate, and they too probably don’t understand the new legislation any better than anyone else.

Could this heavy-handed bureaucratic meddling been avoided and a less intrusive solution been implemented? Of course. Simply requiring all correspondence to have a reply function to advise the sender to “cease and desist” would have been adequate — an advisement which most e-mails already contain.

We can only hope that this is not the first step in muzzling interaction over the Internet and reducing our freedom of communication further.

John Lindsay

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