EU data law: ‘It’s the DMA wot won it’

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Officials at the DMA have hailed their part in spearheading the UK’s lobbying efforts against the draft EU data laws – which has so far seen nearly 1,000 changes adopted – but are stressing there is still plenty of work to be done.
The amendments, 900 of which were rubberstamped last week by the EU’s industry committee, have been heavily criticised by privacy campaigners amid claims that MEPs are under buckling under pressure from US technology giants.
But the US can no longer lay claim to getting the changes pushed through; the UK marketing industry has also been heavily involved.
One of the most crucial amendments was a change in the wording which means firms that control data will no longer have to seek explicit permission to process personal information, as they will be able to cite “legitimate interest”.
Speaking exclusively to DecisionMarketing, DMA boss Chris Combemale welcomed the move and said: “The UK marketing industry has mounted a co-ordinated effort across Europe to achieve data protection legislation that balances the rights of citizens and companies.
“An industry working party chaired by the DMA under the big tent of the AA agreed a single set of amendments to promote to legislators in the UK and in Europe. Members of the working party include DMA, IPA, IAB, ISBA, MRS, Google, Microsoft, Facebook, WPP and many others.
“With the help of Fedma and 22 national DMA’s in Europe the effort has been extended across the continent. By operating with a consistent voice and a single set of proposals the industry has presented a unified approach that is gaining traction with key legislators. Almost 1,000 amendments have been proposed, many of them drawn from the unified position of the marketing industry.”
But now is not the time for complacency, the DMA maintains. It is calling on all companies to lobby their MEPs through its toolkit, available to download at www.dma.org.uk/eu-data-protection
The next discussion by MEPs is set for the upcoming Justice Council on March 8. The Employment Committee (EMPL) is the next to vote, and will be followed by the lead committee – which presides over civil liberties (LIBE) – at the end of April.

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