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The Trouble with the TPP, Day 15: Weak Anti-Spam Law Standards - Michael Geist
The Trouble with the TPP and privacy, which includes weak privacy laws, restrictions on data localization, bans on data transfer restrictions, and a failure to obtain privacy assurances from the U.S., also includes the agreement's weak anti-spam standards. Given the fact that nearly all TPP countries have some form of anti-spam law (with the exception of Brunei), the inclusion of anti-spam provision in the TPP was not surprising, yet the agreement sets the bar far lower than that found in many countries. Article 14.14 states: Each Party shall adopt or maintain measures regarding unsolicited commercial electronic messages that: (a) require suppliers of unsolicited commercial electronic messages to facilitate the ability of recipients to prevent ongoing reception of those messages; (b) require the consent, as specified according to the laws and regulations of each Party, of recipients to receive commercial electronic messages; or (c) otherwise provide for the minimisation of unsolicited commercial electronic messages. The TPP provision features two key requirements: anti-spam laws that provide for a binding unsubscribe mechanism and some form of consent. Yet with the standard of consent left wide open, countries are free to adopt weak, ineffective standards and still comply with the TPP requirements. In fact, since spam raises global concerns that frequently requires cross-border co-operation, the TPP would have been an ideal mechanism to strengthen international anti-spam rules and enforcement.