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EDITOR'S BLOG
Jul 2, 2014

I’m still getting spam

CASL stops legitimate organizations, but those phishing scams? They’ll continue unabated
    

By Todd Humber

It’s July 2, and I’m still getting spam.

I’ll admit that I’m seeing a slight quantity difference in my inbox — and we’re not even 48 hours into this new anti-spam legislation era in Canada — but I’m still getting spam.

For example, an obvious phishing attempt landed in my spam folder this morning. It looks like it’s from Bell, telling me that my credit card has expired and I need to click on a link in the email to ensure my service doesn’t get cut off. One wee little problem there — Bell doesn’t have my credit card information.

And that’s my biggest beef with CASL — Canada’s anti-spam legislation. It’s not going to stop the most annoying spam, the stuff from scammers trying to get access to my personal information or to trick me into handing over credit card information or gain access to my computer.

Frankly, I’m stunned that a supposedly business-friendly, Conservative government passed this legislation. If anything, it’s only going to hurt the economy. It’s capitalism 101: Less marketing of goods means less business transactions. That translates into fewer jobs and less tax revenue.

And doesn’t CASL kind of feel like it was written to solve a problem that existed 10 years ago? Spam filters have gotten pretty sophisticated in recent years — to the point that very little, if any, spam actually makes it to my legitimate inbox.

All it does is stop legitimate organizations, who play by the rules, from marketing to me. And as annoying as those emails can be, they weren’t really much of a problem. In fact, they were often helpful from a business and research standpoint.

Like many of you, I began to suffer from CASL fatigue a couple of weeks ago. Every day, emails poured into my inbox from organizations looking for consent so they could continue communicating with me via email. I answered the first few, but just couldn’t be bothered after a while. I won’t really know what I’m missing for a couple of weeks, and undoubtedly I’ll have to go back and sign up again for emails I want to receive.

(And on that note, this seems like a good time to drop a plug — if you haven’t signed up for Canadian HR Newswire, take a moment to do so now.)

We may all rightfully celebrate inboxes that are a bit less full for the moment. But let’s not fool ourselves — CASL won’t stop the most annoying, dangerous and criminal kind of spam.

Which reminds me. I got an email from a Nigerian prince this morning. Due to some complicated tax rules, he needs my help to transfer his inheritance and he’s willing to give me a cut. I plan on getting back to him right after I claim my free cruise to the Bahamas (what a lucky day I’m having!) and check out this website that offers prescription medication for pennies on the dollar.

© Copyright Canadian HR Reporter, Thomson Reuters Canada Limited. All rights reserved.
    
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COMMENTS
CASL is overkill
Wednesday, July 02, 2014 9:56:00 AM by Brian Kreissl
I agree with you wholeheartedly, Todd. Perhaps one commentator summed it up best when he referred to this legislation as "using a sledgehammer to swot a fly."

It ties company's hands behind their backs and stops them from doing legitimate marketing. Instead of e-mails (which are much less intrusive than other types of marketing) we're now going to be getting more calls (remember the "Do Not Call Registry" and how well that worked - NOT) and junk mail. It all feels like a step backwards and a bad thing for the environment too. The penalties also seem unduly harsh.

Personally, I find it much less intrusive to delete an unwanted e-mail than to take a call from a telemarketer during dinner (seriously, how many duct cleaning companies can there be?).