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12 Jun 2005
Industry Canada, the part of the Canadian government roughly equivalent to the U.S. Commerce Department, has had a task force on spam working for the past year or so. I was invited to participate as an unofficial member, since I'm not a Canadian.
Number 3 recommends that commercial e-mail be opt-in, that is, companies can send ads only to people who've asked for them. Even the Canadian Marketing Association, which is light years ahead of the American DMA, agrees with this.
Number 4 recommends that sending spam be made a specific offense, and that individial and business recipients should have a private right of action.
Number 7 and numbrs 18 through 20 note the importance of coordinating with other countries and recommend various kinds of cooperation, since the majority of spam that lands in Canada didn't originate there.
Numbers 8 through 11 tell ISPs to follow technical best practices and to adopt and enforce anti-spam Acceptable Use Policies.
Numbers 12 through 14 tell commercial mailers to adopt best practices and to move toward certification to make it easier to tell legitimate bulk mail from spam.
They include best practices for ISPs and for e-mail marketers, both of which offer good advice to ISPs and mailers everywhere, not just in Canada.
I wrote the glossary for the main report and a non-technical companion to the ISP best practices, but I like the whole thing. If only we could get the US government to take as clear-eyed a look at the spam problem.
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