Consent proposals ‘severely restrict’ DM

Marketers should be banned from using “pre-ticked boxes” to gain consent to use the personal data of prospective customers when targeting them in campaigns under proposals from the European Parliament.


In a report detailing amendments to the European Union’s data protection directive, MEP Jan Albrecht of the European Parliament’s Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee, says pre-ticked boxes do not “express free consent” and that “specific, informed, and explicit consent” is required if the subject is not already a customer.

The proposal goes further than last year’s draft data protection directive, which proposed that less prescriptive “affirmative action” requirement before data can be used.

Albrecht’s proposals have angered the direct marketing industry. In a statement the Direct Marketing Association claims the definition of consent would “severely restrict direct marketing”.

“It [DM] would only be possible to be carried out without the consent of the recipient where that person is an existing customer of the marketer and the marketing communication only relates to similar products and services,” the association adds.

Albrecht’s amendments are unlikely to be the last made to the data protection directive, however. Other members of the European Parliament are likely to table proposals as is the European Council before it passed to national Governments for implementation.

The DMA and other industry bodies whose members rely on data to serve advertising are supported by the UK Government in their objections to the consent stipulations. However, unlike the current data protection rules the bill be imposed uniformly accross all 27 member states to avoid fragmentation.

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