EU Data Protection Legislation

You may have heard that the European Union is planning sweeping changes to data protection laws. What you may not have realised is the impact these changes will have on your business.

As the proposals currently stand it will become illegal to

  • send a mailshot
  • send a promotional email
  • make a telemarketing call

to any named individual either at home or at work without first obtaining their explicit consent.

Quite simply it will mean the end of targeted direct marketing in the UK.

These proposals are probably well intentioned. It is likely that tougher data protection laws would protect vulnerable and elderly people from unscrupulous companies. But the proposals make no distinction between a company phoning an 84-year-old widow in her home and a company writing to the marketing director of British Gas at the company’s head office.

How can we stop this happening?
The best course of action is to write to our MEPs. Before becoming law the new data protection proposals have to be approved by the European Parliament. Each region of the UK has several MEPs. The contact details of these MEPs can be seen here: http://www.europarl.org.uk/view/en/your_MEPs/List-MEPs-by-region.html

All that’s needed is a brief letter or email to each of the MEPs that represents your region describing what your company does, how many people it employs and the impact this legislation would have upon you.

What we think
Electric Marketing’s view is that the proposals should make a distinction between business-to-business marketing and consumer marketing. We believe that the current opt-out system works perfectly well for the business-to-business arena and that a switch to an opt-in regime would severely limit the ability of small companies to promote their goods and services to larger businesses. It is anti-competitive and would lead to the failure of many potentially successful start-up businesses.

Whatever your view NOW is the time to make it known by writing to your MEP.

More details of the EU’s proposals can be seen on the Direct Marketing Association’s website: http://dma.org.uk/eu-data-protection/the-proposals-at-a-glance

If you’d like to contact me about this please send an email to robert@electricmarketing.co.uk

Robert Bingham
Director
Electric Marketing Ltd
March 2013

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