Stopping Spam: Creating a Stronger, Safer Internet: Report of the Task Force on Spam (May 2005) (full-text).
Leadership and partnership
Legislation, regulation and enforcement
2. The federal government should establish in law a clear set of rules to prohibit spam and other emerging threats to the safety and security of the Internet (e.g. botnets, spyware, keylogging) by enacting new legislation and amending existing legislation as required.
3. To this end, the following email activities and practices should be made offences in spam-specific legislation (these provisions may also be reflected, in whole or in part, in existing legislation):
- the failure to abide by an opt-in regime for sending unsolicited commercial email;
- the use of false or misleading headers or subject lines (i.e. false transmission information) designed to disguise the origins, purpose or contents of an email, whether the objective is to mislead recipients or to evade technological filters;
- the construction of false or misleading URLs and websites for the purpose of collecting personal information under false pretences or engaging in criminal conduct (or to commit other offences listed);
- the harvesting of email addresses without consent, as well as the supply, use or acquisition of such lists; and
- dictionary attacks.
4. For these new offences, the following penalties and remedies should be applicable:
- The new offences created should be civil and strict-liability offences, with criminal liability open for more egregious or repeated offences. There should be meaningful statutory penalties for all offences listed in Recommendation #3.
- There should be an appropriate private right of action available to persons, both individuals and corporations. There should be meaningful statutory damages available to persons who bring civil action.
- The businesses whose products or services are being promoted by way of spam should also be held responsible for the spamming. Responsibility should also rest with other third-party beneficiaries of spam.
5. Regarding the enforcement and administration of new legislation: • the administration of a new stand-alone law should be undertaken by the Minister of Industry, with support from a separate body responsible for policy oversight and coordination, public education and awareness, and support to enforcement agencies; and • enforcement of legislative provisions addressing spam should be undertaken by existing agencies.
6. The federal government should place priority on anti-spam enforcement by providing stronger support and dedicated resources to agencies to administer and enforce new and existing anti-spam legislation.
7. The federal government, in coordination with the provinces and territories, should conclude and implement cooperative enforcement agreements with other countries. These efforts should include examining and amending existing legislative provisions as required to allow for seamless international cooperative investigation and enforcement action.
Best practices for Internet service providers and other network operators
9. ISPs and other [network operator]]s, in cooperation with the coordination body established by the Minister of Industry (pursuant to Recommendation 5) should, on an ongoing basis, measure the scope of the spam problem in Canada and assess the impact of the recommended practices. They should continue to identify issues that may require further study, with a view to developing additional recommendations.
10. To assist in the ongoing monitoring of spam trends and the continued development of anti-spam measures and techniques, the federal government should lead in establishing a Canadian spam database (i.e. the “Spam Freezer”).
Best practices for email marketing
12. Commercial email marketers should implement the best business practices recommended by the Task Force on Spam and should, in cooperation with the coordination body established by the Minister of Industry, monitor the effectiveness of these practices on an ongoing basis.
13. Canadian industry, in coordination with international standards-development organizations, should continue to investigate various certification methodologies and their associated costs to determine which, if any, would provide the most suitable certification regime for Canada.
14. To help determine the extent of the problem of non-deliverability of legitimate email in Canada, the coordination body established by the Minister of Industry should, with the help of appropriate stakeholders, formally study this issue on an ongoing basis.
User awareness and education
15. As part of its ongoing effort to increase user awareness and education, the federal government, in cooperation with interested stakeholders, should continue to promote the “Stop Spam Here / Arrêtez le pourriel ici” user-tips campaign by encouraging others to link to these websites, and through the use of other appropriate methods and media.
16. The federal government, in cooperation with interested stakeholders, should continue to maintain and enhance the “Stop Spam Here / Arrêtez le pourriel ici” websites in order to increase their value as education tools and sources of appropriate links to other anti-spam resources, and so as to ensure that they remain up to date and relevant (e.g. by including information on industry best practices and future anti-spam legislation and complaints procedures).
17. The federal government, in cooperation with interested stakeholders, should develop appropriate and consistent anti-spam education and awareness campaigns tailored to the needs of different target audiences.
19. The federal government, in consultation, collaboration and partnership with other stakeholders as appropriate, should actively promote and assist the coordinated international implementation of anti-spam policies, laws, regulations and enforcement measures; industry standards and practices; and public education and awareness activities.
20. Canada should make its expertise in developing multistakeholder toolkit approaches to combatting spam available to help developing countries.
Establishment of a coordinating body
21. In order to carry forward the multifaceted, multistakeholder approach that has been developed by the Task Force on Spam, and to provide a focal point for facilitating the implementation of its recommendations, the federal government should establish a centre, reporting to the Minister of Industry, responsible for policy oversight and coordination, public education and awareness, and providing support to enforcement agencies.
22. The federal government, through this coordinating body, should monitor the impact of the implementation of the Task Force’s recommendations; evaluate the results; provide regular public reports; and, in consultation with stakeholders, take whatever additional measures are necessary to combat spam.