Anti-Spam Legislation Doesn't Work, But Apparently Canada Needs It Anyway

from the but-why? dept

It’s been pretty clear for quite some time that anti-spam legislation hasn’t done a damn thing to stop spam, so it’s not exactly clear why folks up in Canada feel that the government is missing out by not having a useless Canadian version of anti-spam legislation. Apparently, people are worried that Canada is becoming a spam and scam haven, but it’s not really clear that that’s true. The same article also calls for stricter identity theft laws in Canada, noting that very few identity thieves are prosecuted in Canada — though it fails to note that the real reason is that it’s quite difficult to catch identity thieves (which is true whether or not the laws are strict). While it’s nice that people are realizing that spam and identity theft are serious problems, it’s important to realize that simply outlawing them may not do much to stop them and often are really only useful in making politicians feel good.

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Anti-Spam Legislation Doesn't Work, But Apparently Canada Needs It Anyway”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
SpamIsNotMeat says:

Bulk email is not spam

All the law did was force honest businesses to not send bulk email. While their foreign counterparts can market as much as they like.

There are two parts to spam:

1. Bulk mail.
2. Fake sender address.

Bulk mail should *not* be illegal, it’s very easy to block because the sender is listed and a filter list can remove them if the user wants.
US and Canadian companies shouldn’t be terrified of going to jail for sending out and advert!

Fake Senders, should be a crime, since it it deception, impersonation of another person, and it makes it damn difficult to block the emails (which is why they do it)!

But the laws don’t work, I’d like to see an SPF record compulsorily part of the DNS record for every server. So that fake senders can all be discarded.

Trouble is Microsoft owns hotmail and wants to charge for it’s users to receive bulk email, so they lobby for these crappy laws while good fixes already exist.

Rich Kulawiec says:

another waste of time

This is hardly surprising. All experienced and knowledgeable
anti-spammers are well aware that the primary purpose of
anti-spam legislation is to carefully exempt large categories
of spam from the legal definition, so that those sending it can
use the feeble spam-is-that-which-we-do-not-do excuse.


Those categories often include political spam, religious spam,
and all spam sent by large commercial spammers who have made
campaign contributions and employed lobbyists. A prime example,
of course, is the US “CAN-SPAM” law, yet another illustration
that the US Congress is one of the most technically ignorant
legislative bodies to be found anywhere on planet Earth.

The best anti-spam tool available is a good blacklist. I strongly
encourage the use of those operated by,,, and, among others.

John (profile) says:

And... so?

So they make spam illegal in Canada? Then what? Are they going to prosecute the spammers in Russia, China, or Korea? Will the new law simply cause Canadian spammers to move overseas?

And if they do prosecute overseas spammers, how are they going to collect fines or enforce the judgment? So the Chinese spammer has been found guilty. Will he actually be put in jail or will his punishment be to be deported back to China, where he’ll send some more spam?

Rich Kulawiec says:

A timely example of that-which-we-do-not-do -- rig

SpamIsNotMeat claims that spam consists of (1) bulk email and (2) fake addresses.

This is wrong, of course, which is one of the reasons why it’s
covered in the URL provided in my previous comment. The
correct definition of spam is “unsolicited bulk email”, or UBE
for short. That definition was settled on many years ago — which
is when the slan term “spam”, borrowed from Usenet, which in turn
had borrowed it from MUDs, was applied. UBE replaced earlier
terms such as “mass mail abuse” and “broadcast mail” and so on.

The definition (UBE) deliberately omits any number of qualifying
terms (such as “forged sender address”) because including them would
allow spammers to claim that their particular variety of spam wasn’t
spam — because it didn’t meet some particular criteria. The definition
of spam is also deliberately content-neutral (for example, empty spam
is still spam) because it’s the act of spamming that is itself abusive.
(And because it’s undesirable and unnecessary to get into content issues.)

This is not, by the way, to say that content might introduce *more*
abuse: for example, the content might be a phish or a virus, both of
which are abusive even when sent by non-spamming means. It’s
just an example I’m using to point out that UBE was carefully chosen,
and, as subsequent events have shown, has held up very well over
the years. As yet, I see no reason to even consider changing it.

|333173|3|_||3 says:

Blacklist, filter, delete

What the first two miss, the last will get everytime. I have never had a real problem with spam, except at school where a group of the students got the spam filter removed because it sent an email to tell you that a message had been filtered, and it was no worse to delete the message than the notification, especilayy since the notification was a large HTML message but the spam was usually smaller, since the Webmail server that we used stripped out HTML.

You cannot punish spammers, get over it and find something woirhtwhile to do.

Joe Smith says:

Follow the money

We get a lot of spam. A significant portion of that seems to be for medicines from Canada. Canada should be able to shut down that source of spam with appropriately drawn anti-spam legislation. Any business with a real presence in a Western country can be closed off as a source of spam.

We’ll never shut down the Nigerian frauds by anit-spam legilslation but that is no reason for not shutting down what we can.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...