Fears grow over ePrivacy update as UK loses voice

EU building 2The UK will now have no influence on the outcome of the review of the ePrivacy Directive currently underway, despite the DMA reaffirming its commitment to remaining part of Fedma – the Federation of European Direct & Interactive Marketing – in the wake of the Brexit vote.
The review of the ePrivacy Directive – which also includes the Privacy & Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR) – will cover all online and mobile marketing, SMS, email and telemarketing activity.
The Directive was last updated in 2009 to provide clearer rules on customers’ rights to privacy. In particular, new requirements were introduced such as on “cookies” and on personal data breaches.
In its current form, PECR is already proving a major headache for marketers, and breaches of the laws represent the lion’s share of the UK Information Commissioner’s Office workload, but Fedma co-chairwoman Dr Sachiko Scheuing says the UK will now have no influence over the updated Directive, even though it will still have to abide by the legislation if UK firms want to trade in Europe.
In a statement, Dr Scheuing said: “After having worked so closely with the UK marketing industry and experts to push through the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and achieve a gold standard in data protection regulation for the entire EU populous, Fedma is inevitably disappointed by [referendum] result.
“The UK has been instrumental in helping to shape the future of privacy in Europe and seen a huge number of legal professionals, business experts and data practitioners inform the legislation which will influence the way companies are able to target EU residents.
“Now the UK has left, that expertise will be unable to continue to add value to, for instance the ePrivacy directive, in the same way moving forward.”
The DMA made its commitment in a Q&A guide to the key factors marketers – and DMA members – will need to consider over the coming months.
It said: “The DMA will continue to play an active role in Fedma, ensuring the UK marketing industry’s voice is heard on key issues such as data protection and the GDPR.
“We will also continue to take a pro-active role with UK bodies like the ICO. The UK’s ICO has always worked closely with other national data protection authorities in other countries both inside and outside the EU on a bilateral basis and this will continue to be the case.”
Fedma can trace its roots back to 1980, when its predecessor – the European Advertising Tripartite (EAT) – was set up to lobby for the advertising and marketing industry at a European level.
Athough the EAT carried on until the 2000s, Fedma took over the role of representing the direct and interactive marketing sector in 1992, led by director general Alistair Tempest. He stepped down last year.

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