The federal Privacy Commissioner is asking the federal government to enact tougher measures on unsolicited email and identity theft. Given the increase in both activities, the Commissioner is calling for criminal offences to be added to the Criminal Code, stating that the myriad of loopholes is creating havoc for recipients of both these forms of activities.

Canada currently sits sixth in the G8 in production of the world’s total amount of spam email and is the only G8 nation yet to enact legislation outlawing the practice. RCMP numbers indicate that about 7,800 people reported identity theft last year totalling over $16 million, although the Commissioner of Competition suggests that figure is closer to billions of dollars yearly.

A private member’s bill to include identity theft in the Criminal Code is making its way through the system, but as the Privacy Commissioner reports, these types of initiatives have surfaced in the past but without much success.

McCarthy Tétrault Notes:

Regular readers of the Technology Law Quarterly know that on more than one occasion I have wondered out loud why the Canadian government has not yet enacted anti-spam legislation. As the federal Privacy Commissioner points out, it really is high time Canada fell in line with its major trading partners, and do its bit to help curb this problematic activity. I understand that many worthy subjects vie for the government’s scarce time and attention, but I predict that a well crafted anti-spam law would sail through Parliament without much debate. It’s low lying legislative fruit: hopefully the next government will decide it’s worth picking.