New Zealand Gets Anti-Spam Law – Is Canada Next?

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The Unsolicited Electronic Messages Act 2007 just got the OK from New Zealand’s parliament.

Here are the key features of this anti-spam law:

  • Opt-in is required for commercial marketing messages
  • Requires compliance from senders within New Zealand and all emails with links to New Zealand websites
  • The sender must be identified accurately
  • Recipients must get a working unsubscribe mechanism in each email

This law is pretty similar to most of the anti-spam acts already in place in various regions around the globe. In actuality, it is unlikely it will have any effect on spam levels in NZ since very little of the spam originates from within the country itself. The goal is to set some common standards for all businesses and give New Zealand a basis for participating in cross-border anti-spam measures.

How does this apply to Canada?

New Zealand’s anti-spam laws were tabled in 2005 and took almost 2 years to approve and enact. In Canada we have a spam task force and there have been rumblings about some sort of anti-spam legislation but nothing concrete has come of it. However, some time soon Canada will have to join the US, EU and countries like New Zealand to ensure there are a common set of “rules” for organizations using email for any sort of commercial or marketing communications.

At the end of the day, even without a Canadian anti-spam law, as a
minimum the best practice for Canadian marketers has been to make sure
they comply with the US CAN-SPAM act. Furthermore, if they market to
Europe and further abroad they also need to know their compliance
requirements for those regions as these may be different. You should
always be anti-spam compliant if you:

  1. Get explicit permission from a recipient BEFORE you send any
    commercial or marketing emails
  2. Include a functioning UNSUBSCRIBE mechanism (e.g. an unsubscribe
    link) in each and every marketing email you send
  3. Add your physical mailing address to each email to ensure CAN-SPAM
    compliance

If you are doing this it is unlikely any Canadian anti-spam legislation
will negatively impact your marketing efforts.

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