ICO: Marketers needs to ‘get real’ on data laws

The marketing industry needs to accept major changes to data protection laws are inevitable because of legitimate consumer concerns over the use of personal data, the Information Commissioner has warned.

Data protection

Speaking at a conference on data protection in London today (8 February), Christopher Graham said the industry needs to take concerns about the capture of data online for use in marketing campaigns “more seriously”. Failure to do so, he added, increases the likelihood “over prescriptive” laws will be introduced by regulators.

Referring to the European Commission’s proposed rules on data protection – which includes measures on consent and profiling industry body the Direct Market Association has warned threaten the future of the channel – Graham said lobbying efforts need to be “calmer, better informed and more rational if minds are to be changed”.

“Compliance and not defiance is required…..Consumers will be pre-disposed to those brands that treat them as grown ups and don’t like those that they see as being tricky. Brands that offer compliance will prosper those seen as tricky will not”.

The Direct Marketing Association, which hosted the event, has launched an “online data protection toolkit” for brands and agencies explaining how they lobby MPs and the impact the regulation will have on the DM industry.

The Association is leading advertising industry efforts to force changes to the regulation before it is voted on by European Parliament members this summer. It will then pass between the Council of Ministers and the European Commission but any change to member state law is unlikely until 2014.

The ICO and Ministry of Justice accept changes to data protection laws are necessary to reflect the emergence of the internet but both believe a better balance between the rights of consumers and the interests of business needs to be struck.

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