A fresh start

Welcome back and Happy New Year!

The new year may also bring a new session of Parliament.

Through the holidays, we learned of plans to prorogue parliament, which will lead to the death of 4 technology related bills, as Michael Geist reported, including Bill C-27, the so-called Electronic Commerce Protection Act (ECPA).

As I wrote last May, the bill is flawed in that it goes far beyond protection from spam to prevent forms of commercial contact in digital form that are perfectly legal in paper form. McCarthy’s had also warned about restrictions being too broad.

Typically, we see internet communications as being more open than traditional media – we are less likely to impose restrictions on digital content than print or other forms. As it is written, the bill would be better titled the Electronic Commerce Restrictions Act; it discourages many efficiencies that should be available to businesses of all sizes in reaching out to new customers.

Hopefully, the reintroduction of the bill will enable Industry Canada to encourage confidence in e-commerce without choking off incentives for Canadian business to adopt innovative business models.

1 thought on “A fresh start”

  1. IMO, it is a false analogy to compare commercial contact in digital form to that in paper form. While similar in function, they are quite different in application. Due to the relative ease and low cost of email and other electronic forms of contact, any business can send out a volume of unsolicited electronic messages orders of magnitude beyond that which would bankrupt them in paper form.

    While it would perhaps be wise to extend the same limitations to paper-based spam, I don't believe the lack of such limitations to be a deal-breaker for the bill. It would definitely have been better than the status quo, and therefore worth passing.

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