Today emails are one of the most important part of our lives,to achieve the accelerated growth in our career emails have become the indigenous part of our day-to-day activity but while operating this tool of digital world we come across some unwanted and risky mails called spam, these might appear like normal mails but have potential to steal our identity.Let us have a look as to what are spam email and what are the laws to control it.
What is a spam email ?
A spam is an unwanted email which we receive from an unknown person,companies or source.Spam mails are a waste of our time and resources,in many countries it is considered a serious crime and the person or company sending a spam email has to pay a hefty fine.Recently in Canada an online dating site had to pay $48000, because they were sending commercial emails without a clear and working un-subscribe mechanism,this company was not sending any unwanted mails but the mistake they did was not following the guidelines stipulated in their countries anti-spam law.
Glance in Top 3 email spam laws currently can be as below:
- Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation 2014 (CASL)
- United States -Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act of 2003
- United Kingdom-Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003
So, let us know briefly what these laws are , according to Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation 2014 it is prohibited to send a commercial email or text message to someone without the recipients consent,use of false or misleading representations in the promotion of products and services is also prohibited ,This law makes it compulsory to include the sender’s name and address in the email along with a link to un-subscribe.Also the sender must act on the unsubscribe request within 10 days at no cost to the receiver.
United States -Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act of 2003 (CAN-SPAM Act of 2003),It states that the sender can send a commercial email to the receiver only if the receiver has given a written or oral consent,the sender must identify itself or the entity by stating the name who is sending the email and not use false or misleading header information,once the sender is authorized by the receiver then each mail sent should have the “opt-out”option and this “opt-out” has to be honored within 10 days,”opt-out” in simple language means blocking the sender, this law requires to identify the message as an advertisement,tell recipients where you’re located and must not use deceptive subject lines.It is also required to monitor what others are doing on your behalf. The law makes clear that even if you hire another company to handle your email marketing, you can’t contract away your legal responsibility to comply with the law. Both the company whose product is promoted in the message and the company that actually sends the message may be held legally responsible.
The third law which we will discuss now is United Kingdom-Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003 according to this law organisations can generally only send marketing texts or emails to individuals if that person has specifically consented to receiving them. Indirect consent is unlikely to be sufficient,The rules also apply to viral marketing.This law requires to allow individuals to reply directly to the message and opt out that way, to provide a clear and operational un-subscribe link in emails or at least to provide a freephone number. This law specifically states that in case an organisation is sending an email to its existing customer then it can be only sent if the mail id is received to the sender during the negotiation of sale and the mail should be related to the product or service currently under negotiation,and the sender must give the receiver a simple opportunity to refuse or opt out of the marketing, both when first collecting the details and in every message after that.
If we look closely in each law we can find that they are somewhat similar but may have different definitions as per their country,each law has its objective such as for Canada its ” to encourage the growth of electronic commerce by ensuring confidence and trust in the online marketplace. To do so, the Act prohibits damaging and deceptive spam, spyware, malicious code, botnets, and other related network threats.”United States objective behind CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 is to limit the transmission of pornographic emails by spammer and the objective of UK spam law is consumer protection from direct marketing including all electronic communications such as email or ( SMS ) mobile phone messages.
I hope that some day even in India we will have such a law to protect us from the spammers.This is necessary because we are getting daily 10-20 or more spam mail into our inbox daily and frequently there are news of people getting duped to the tune of Rs.10000 to Rs.100000 or even more.
Awareness and education related to spam alertness is the need of the hour today . This will help us to create the environment of healthy competition and consumer friendly cyber market. It will indirectly boost our productivity,since spam consumes a lot of our time and resources .
We need to stop spam so the real marketers can get to send across their communication to its customer more effectively and thus create more demand and supply for the economy.Lesser the spam more will the customer trust in online business.Control on spam will reduce our expenditure on anti-spam software and we will be able to utilize this money on other better initiatives.
Thus after getting to understand the benefits of Anti Spam Law I support them totally and wish to see a robust anti-spam law in India too which will give strict punishments to the spam senders .
India has already achieved to a very great extent in control of telephone call spam through its various Telecommunications Marketing laws and guidelines. Also it has a successful ratio in penalizing the defaulters for non-compliance of this telecommunication laws, if we are able to apply somewhat similar laws with our own mechanism for emails the day wont be far when we will be in the top 3 Spam Control Laws.