CRTC executes another raid in malware investigation

January 28, 2016

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has announced the execution of another warrant under Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL), this time at two locations in the Niagara region of Ontario.

This is only the second such warrant executed by the CRTC under the anti-spam law.  As in a recent previous announcement respecting the execution of a similar warrant, the warrant was issued as part of an ongoing investigation, and the party that was the subject of the warrant was not identified.

The most recent warrant was apparently obtained as part of an investigation relating to the installation of malware and the alteration of transmission data.  This marks the first public announcement respecting an investigation into the alteration of transmission data.  Section 7 of CASL generally prohibits the alteration of transmission data in an electronic message such that the message is delivered to a destination other than or in addition to that specified by the sender, unless the alteration is made with the express consent of the sender or is made pursuant to a court order.

Interestingly, the CRTC’s investigation in this case appears not to have been launched as a result of complaints received, but rather as a result of a tip from a US network security company specializing in cyber threat protection and forensics.

This most recent enforcement action continues the Commission’s efforts against the most damaging and deceptive types of online threats.  As noted in in previous posts, concerns had been raised in light of what appeared to be an early focus by the CRTC on enforcement against legitimate domestic companies for errors made in attempting to comply with the core anti-spam provisions of CASL, rather than targeting distributors of malware and other intentional bad actors.

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