Companies using data-driven marketing techniques are being urged to step up their lobbying efforts against the EU data protection reforms, which are far from a “done deal”, according to former DMA chief Caroline Roberts.
Most reports eminating from Brussels claim the EU General Data Protection Regulation could be passed as early as January, but Roberts – who is now a consultant at Opt-4 – has urged organisations to carry on the fight.
Speaking at a FastMap briefing on Friday, Roberts said: “It’s hideously complicated and pretty labyrinthine. We need to educate people about what is happening because there is still a lot of room for negotiation. The Advertising Association and the DMA are lobbying vigorously. It is worth fighting for the principles to make it a better balanced regulation. So I would urge you to consider lobbying just as furiously.”
Of all the sectors which will be hit, it is charities who are likely to suffer most from the proposed opt-in only regime. Unless consumers have opted in for their name and address to be shared on a third-party list, then they will not be available for any charity to approach.
A pre-event survey carried out by FastMap shows the scale of the issue within charities. Most are clueless when the new laws are likely to be passed, despite the fact that 81% predict they will “fundamentally” or “importantly” affect their organisation.
Meanwhile, a recent Medialab report claimed the third-party list rental market, still a huge source of new donors for dozens of charities, could face a loss of up to 50% in numbers if the laws are approved in their current form.
The Institute of Fundraising has already met with its counterparts across Europe to discuss how to lobby against the legislation, and, earlier this month, wrote to UK MEPs to hammer home its concerns.
Daniel Fluskey, head of policy and research at the IoF, said: “We are working with the European Fundraising Assocation and others to raise the issues with MEPs from other nations. From my discussions with other associations everybody recognises the need for the regulation to be proportionate and to make sure it does not negatively impact or restrict fundraising.”
Beatrice Schell, chief executive of the EFA, said: “We are preparing to reach out to relevant MEPs in Brussels, aiming to engage their support in ensuring that the final legislation protects consumers without cutting off vital fundraising channels. We are also encouraging national fundraising associations across Europe to reach out to their own MEP contacts in the same way.”
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