Former Opt-4 team relaunch Data Protection Network

DPN_new2A group of former Opt-4 senior advisors has relaunched the Data Protection Network – the organisation which won industry plaudits for its guidance on GDPR compliance – after acquiring its online hub from an insolvency practice.

The future of the DPN had been put into doubt when Opt-4 co-founder Jenny Moseley put the organisations into voluntary liquidation last month, citing the Covid-19 pandemic for both the companies’ demise. 

Moseley, who had launched Opt-4 in 2005 and the DPN in 2014 with her late business partner Rosemary Smith, appointed Turpin Barker Armstrong to handle the winding up of the business last month.

But three members of the team, who worked across both organisations – ex-Guardian chief revenue officer Julia Porter, former Bauer Media head of data and CRM Simon Blanchard, and ex-Acxiom head of data protection complaints Philippa Donn – have acquired some of its assets from the liquidator and have relaunched the DPN as DPN Associates Ltd.

Rosemary Smith’s sister, Caroline Bennett, who was formerly operations director of Reed Executive, has also become a director, with ex-Royal Mail head of new business Debbie McElhill a key member of the new team.

The DPN Advisory Board is chaired by Bristows LLP partner Robert Bond and includes REaD Group data quality and governance manager Andrew Bridges, consultant and former Fuel chairman Charles Ping, and Royal Mail head of IP and privacy Dominic Batchelor, among others.

The DPN, whose guidance is aimed both at data professionals and non-experts, has played a crucial role in the industry over the past six years, providing an independent voice for the data-driven marketing sector.

In the run-up to GDPR, there was growing frustration at the lack of advice coming out of the Information Commissioner’s Office, especially around consent for marketing.

However, the DPN stepped in to provide a raft of papers on the new regulation, including the first definitive industry guidance on the use of legitimate interests. Produced in association with the DMA and published in July 2017, it gave businesses a heads-up on what to expect. The ICO did not publish its own version until nine months later – just weeks before GDPR came into force.

Since then, the DPN has continued to provide compliance advice across all areas of data protection, including ePrivacy, direct marketing, fundraising, and data governance and security. In the coming weeks, the organisation is due to publish new industry-led guidance on data retention, which has been many months in the making.

Donn said: “Over the years the DPN has established a reputation for delivering independent thought-leadership on data protection and privacy matters and we’re delighted to be able to continue to fulfil its aims, as established by Rosemary and Jenny.

“The DPN Advisory Board will remain in place and we will continue to collaborate with our broader network of data protection specialists.”

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