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EU Data Protection Regulation – A victory for Common Sense

Posted by John Noble on 16 Dec 2015

So the powers that be have agreed on a text for the EU Data Protection Regulation, so what are the implications for B2B marketers?

There are 5 points to consider:

  1. Direct marketing as a legitimate interest
    Wording in the text recognises that the processing of personal information for marketing purposes may be regarded as carried out for a legitimate interest.

  2. Definition of personal data
    Personal data is any information relating to an identified or identifiable person. How companies interact with personal data is the focus for the legislation.

  3. Consent
    The text could refer to 'unambiguous' consent or ‘explicit’ consent, which is a stricter definition. Under this definition consent for postal and telephone marketing can still be given on an unsubscribe or opt-out basis.
    Either way, marketing organisations should bear in mind that the rules on consent will tighten up. Information must be provided concisely, in a transparent and intelligible way, and be easily accessible using clear and plain language.

  4. Right to object (unsubscribe/opt-out)
    Under the new Regulation, individuals will have the right to object to any processing of their personal information, including profiling, at any time and free of charge. If individuals object, then their personal information can no longer be processed for marketing purposes. Most marketers will use the legitimate interest grounds for processing personal information (see above) if they are using an unsubscribe/opt-out methods. But the right to unsubscribe/opt-out must be brought to the attention of the individual in the first communication and be clearly and separately stated. Again, existing unsubscribe/opt-out language will need to be revised.

  5. Profiling
    Profiling has now been included under the label 'automated decision making'. Individuals have the right not to be subject to the results of automated decision making, including profiling, which produces legal effects on him/her or otherwise significantly affects them. So, individuals can opt out of profiling. But, individuals have no right to opt-out of profiling if they have already explicitly consented to it, or if profiling is necessary under a contract between an organisation and an individual, or if profiling is authorised by EU or Member State Law.

So the legislation is not home and dry yet, but it seems like a good compromise has been reached, whereby individuals rights are recognised, whilst well targeted legitimate interest marketing activities are not curtailed.

A victory for common sense!!!