Charity body’s GDPR advice slammed as ‘bollocks’

charity telemarketing 2The Institute of Fundraising’s advice on new measures over marketing consent included in the EU data protection reforms has been branded “bollocks” by one expert, who has blamed the industry body’s “diabolical fundraising code” for all the confusion.
Tim Turner, a trainer and consultant on data protection and the Privacy & Electronic Communications Regulations, has made the claim in a blog post following advice issued by Daniel Fluskey, head of policy and research at the IoF.
In an article on the UK Fundraising website, Fluskey attempted to clear up the confusion over the EU General Data Protection Regulation’s demands for “unambiguous consent” over marketing data.
In it, Fluskey stated that ‘unambiguous’ consent seemed like a three-stage test:
“Did someone give their information freely? Were they presented with straightforward information so that they had a clear understanding of what marketing/fundraising communications they could expect to receive?
“Did they have a clear and easy ability to choose to accept this, or to object if they didn’t want to receive future marketing?
“If the outcome of the engagement leads to these three questions being able to be answered with a ‘yes’ then it would seem very likely that the donor has given ‘unambiguous’ consent. That seems very much like achieving the spirit and ethos of ‘opting in’ even if there isn’t necessarily a tick box.”
However, Turner responded: “This is all – to use a technical term – bollocks. Complying with the regulation isn’t about trying to capture some phantom ethos – it’s clear and unambiguous.”
Turner then said he suspected Fluskey had not even read the Regulation, “despite the fact that he is issuing clear (if bogus) advice about it to a sector that has wallowed in ignorance for far too long”.
He added: “Consent should be given by a clear affirmative act establishing a freely given, specific, informed and unambiguous indication of the data subject’s agreement to the processing of personal data relating to him or her, such as by a written statement, including by electronic means, or an oral statement.
“This could include ticking a box when visiting an internet website, choosing technical settings for information society services or another statement or conduct which clearly indicates in this context the data subject’s acceptance of the proposed processing of his or her personal data. Silence, pre-ticked boxes or inactivity should not therefore constitute consent.”
Turner concluded: “Denial and confusion is not the answer, and this nonsense must end. The IoF has to stop issuing inaccurate and confusing guidance which, let’s assume coincidentally, has the effect of maximising the number of calls, texts and emails that can be made and sent.
“Charities have been battered for a while now, some with more justification than others. But they have no hope of emerging from the mess and getting back to where they should be if this endless stream of misinformation continues to be sprayed at them. The problem for some fundraisers is not that the GDPR is confusing. It is that it is not.”

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