The US has operated a Do-Not-Call registry to prevent unwanted phone calls since June 2003. When I wrote about this two years ago, the list had 110 million registrants. The latest stats I found, in an October 2007 PDF, says the number now stands at 145 million. Meanwhile, Canada is still waiting. The Canadian registry is due to launch — finally — in summer 2008.
Snail’s pace aside, the Canadian do-not-call registry will also have exemptions that allow many different kinds of organizations to continue contacting you. Charities, political parties, polling companies, newspapers, and companies with a prior business relationship are free to continue calling until you explicitly tell them to stop.
Great. I can hardly wait.
In response to this, Michael Geist, a law professor at University of Ottawa, has built his own solution: he has just launched a site called iOptOut.ca that helps plug the loopholes. Once you’ve registered on iOptOut it will send your contact info to all the organizations you don’t want to hear from. Just like our do-not-call registry should have done… err, should be doing… in the first place. Better yet, it’s free, very easy to use (it took me two minutes to register), and privacy-clean.
Once this is up and running I’d love to see iOptOut extended to provide a do-not-mail service, including admail. We could feed that list to Canada Post, and to companies that deliver direct like YellowPages.ca.