Call for industry action as Digital Bill is waved through

Parliament new oneThe direct marketing industry is being urged to ensure it makes its voice heard after the Digital Economy Bill was pushed through Parliament this afternoon under the so-called “wash up” process that allows governments to speed through unresolved bills when staring down an imminent general election.
The Bill, which will become law within days, sailed through virtually unchanged – apart from a rejection of the demand to make 30Mbps broadband a “universal service”.
The final version includes the requirement for the Information Commissioner’s Office to consult the DM industry on a new code of practice, although how long this will take to produce, given the extra workload that the looming GDPR is giving the ICO, is anyone’s guess.
Nevertheless, Dene Walsh, operations and compliance director at Verso Group, is urging companies operating in direct marketing not to take their eye off the ball.
Walsh said: “Now the Bill has passed it should help concentrate minds on its significance to everyone in direct marketing. The fact that the ICO will be asked to produce new DM and data practice guidelines is important in its own right, but government ministers do not have to abide by whatever is reported to them, and they are under pressure to introduce restrictive regulation. It is essential that we make our case for the freedom to have dialogue with consumers within a framework that protects the public.
“There are some areas of direct marketing practice that are under greater threat of regulation change than others, and that includes telemarketing. However, over restrictive rules that curtail compliant calling is likely to create a greater market for rogue callers, so it’s important that the case for workable constructive rules are put forward.”

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