Canadian regulator bans vuvuzelas

Story highlights Not everyone agrees that the CRTC’s rules on the management of vuvuzelas are “the most intrusive attempt in our history” to block message spam.

If you work remotely and want to avoid being bombarded with spam callers that request unwanted information, it might be time to relax.

The CRTC (Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission) just outlawed the use of vuvuzelas — home-grown instruments used at global sports events and concerts for their noise.

Vuvuzelas have become such a nuisance to consumers over the past year that the Federal Court of Canada urged the federal government to crack down on their use, and the decision was made on January 8. But not everyone agrees the ruling is a necessary update.

“There are a lot of institutions and things that you just need to accept, like this. The CRTC’s efforts are another example,” says Peter Bessette, a litigation attorney at Jim Pattison Group’s Toronto office.

How bad are vuvuzelas?

In a short video posted to the CRTC’s website, its chief enforcement officer with the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, Pat Waldron, said that vuvuzelas are “the most intrusive attempt in our history to block message spam.”

The ban applied to all “vehicles” including vuvuzelas, vuvuzelas with attached red lights and Bluetooth speakers with the red LEDs. No more of your vuvuzelas in your office or den or backyard, please.

The CRTC said the ban will protect consumers from getting annoying live calls with telephone numbers coming from new directions, text messages that don’t end up being received and calls that are made to target specific people and businesses and are triggered by advertising.

What is good about the ban?

Waldron said in a statement that vuvuzelas are available from a number of vendors and that the Commission’s strict and clear standards on live outdoor devices are designed to ensure “consumer enjoyment is preserved.”

Any ban on the use of vuvuzelas only lasts until July 8, 2026.

This does not, however, make vuvuzelas legal to use.

“It’s sort of a halfway stop. It would be a lot better if they banned all vuvuzelas, but the practicality of banning them all probably would not work,” Bessette says.

“I would expect it would be a couple of years before people would be able to get around this.”

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