Poll: Most Canadians believe anti-spam law will be effective

An email from a loved one or long-lost friend is always a welcome sight when the average person opens their online-based mailbox. The same can't be said for spam. This form of electronic information is described as such because no one wants it, as it typically contains data that was sent without the recipients' permission or request.

However, there is a new law in Canada designed to reduce the amount of spam the average consumers receives. Based on a recent survey, many people are confident that the legislation will work.

More than 6 in 10 Canadians said that they anticipate the new law will reduce the amount of spam they get in their email inboxes, according to new survey data from the Canadian Internet Registration Authority. Additionally, more than two-thirds indicated that they have since reconsidered some of their email subscriptions in order to further reduce how much spam they're sent.

"Our research shows that Canadians are both aware of new anti-spam laws and have high expectations for the impact that legislation can have on their email inboxes," said David Fowler, director of marketing and communications at CIRA. "As more Canadian small businesses turn to the web to drive their marketing efforts they need ensure that they understand the laws and regulations in the space."

How confident Canadians are that the anti-spam legislation will work largely depends on how old they are, based on their responses. For example, roughly 65 percent of men and women between 35 and 54 were the most optimistic that the legislation would work, along with 63 percent of individuals 55 and older. The least confident in the law were Canadians under the age of 35.

Businesses say spam has adversely affected productivity
Spam is not only a nuisance but it often leads to severe disruptions in the workplace, based on a separate poll performed by GFI Software. Nearly 70 percent of organizations surveyed said that spam emails had disrupted or "completely halted" day-to-day business operations on at least one occasion in the past 12 months.

Employees and business owners might consider themselves lucky if they only had to deal with one spam-related incident in the last year. More than one-third of respondents said that they had been impacted at least three times in the year, each of which resulted in "substantially negative impacts on productivity," the GFI Software survey revealed.

"Spam is one of the most aggressive cyber battles that IT departments must wage, especially since hackers and scammers have achieved new levels of sophistication and cunning with their scams and attacks," said Sergio Galindo, GFI Software general manager. "Criminals are increasingly using spam to deliver malware payloads into the workplace with the intent of either causing disruption, holding PCs and servers ransom or even stealing valuable information that can be sold or used for fraud."

He added that computers infected with malware result in reduced productivity, which ultimately results in lost income due to devoting time and energy to solving technical issues rather than providing a product or service.

"Stolen data can result in everything from fines to lost customer confidence, while even non-malware spam creates disruption by clogging mailboxes, filling up storage and consuming IT admin time that could be put to work on more valuable tasks," said Galindo.

This past July, Canada's anti-spam legislation went into effect, with the aim of protecting consumers and businesses from various forms of online threats transmitted via spam, such as identity theft, "phishing" and spyware that downloads itself onto computer systems when a link is clicked. Several aspects of the law have yet to become active, however. For example, starting on January 15 of next year, the Canadian government will prohibit users from installing programs like malware on a company or individual's computer without prior consent. Additionally, in 2017, consumers will more easily be able to file lawsuits if they can supply evidence suggesting that they were spammed.

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