Mobile Apps and CASL

Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) is the government’s latest attempt to hold spammers accountable for their questionable activities. As a business owner, there is a lot for you to consider so that you can operate on the right side of this law. Today’s technological landscape is definitely more complex than it has ever been. Things are evolving exponentially and laws have little chance of staying current.

You may have already been receiving emails from your business associates seeking your consent to continue receiving messages from them. After July 1st of this year, it will become much more difficult to communicate with individuals for the purposes of revenue generating activity. You need a mechanism to audit who and when you received consent to send emails. Additionally, if a client changes their mind, you need to have to track that date as well.

The second phase of CASL involves the use of software that can send email messages to users without your knowledge or without their consent. This takes effect January 15, 2015. The idea is that this will financially penalize malware distributors in Canada. Theoretically, international companies that do business with Canadians need to obey CASL. Since any person can code mobile apps and they are available wherever the mobile device can connect to an App or Play Store, how will this work without punishing the unsuspecting Canadian business owner?

While receiving multiple updates to my phone, I was perusing the permissions that each app wanted. This is not something I do frequently; this task, we all definitely need to do more often. Something interesting caught my eye with Google Calendar’s requested permissions. It states that it can send email without my knowledge. How many businesses rely on Google or other services that have these permissions built in? The law says they soon need to be in line with CASL but will that enforcement go up the chain to the non-Canadian business or app developer for being in violation or will CASL punish the Canadian business owner for damages. Nothing is ever black or white, but the mobile landscape certainly makes obedience to CASL a moving target with each app install or update you do.

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