ICO: DM must act now on EU laws

The UK direct marketing industry can expect an ‘over prescriptive’ new EU Data Protection Regulation unless it embraces best practice and becomes fully involved with the legislative process, the Information Commissioner Christopher Graham has warned.
In his keynote speech at the Direct Marketing Association’s annual Data Conference late last week, Graham said that while he welcomed many aspects of the new Regulation the EU published in January, the current draft’s focus on ‘process rather than risk’ would over-burden the ICO’s resources with having to ‘deal with box ticking, rather than chasing the cowboys’.
Graham said that the DM industry must continue to follow the highest standards of data best practice and join together in a united voice to ensure that EU legislators pass a ‘lighter touch’ Data Protection Regulation into law.
“There is much to welcome in the current Regulation, but in many respects it is over prescriptive. There is also too much focus on detail that risks making a fetish of process. The Regulation must instead focus on how we can address the real risks.
“The direct marketing industry has an important role to play in the legislative process. It must focus on good practice and respect consumers. It must also remember that this is just the start of a long game; there is a lot more work to do on the Regulation, so the industry must engage with legislators.”
Responding to Graham’s call, Chris Combemale, executive director of the DMA, said that the organisation will be undertaking a number of initiatives to marshall the industry’s response.
He said: “Since the Regulation came up for review, we’ve been leading the campaign to ensure EU legislators draft a regulation that balances the data privacy rights of the individual without being at the cost of business.
“We are leading an industry task force with the Advertising Association, conducting research to assess the economic impact of the Regulation, conducting research to measure consumer attitudes towards data privacy, and responding on behalf of the industry to all government consultations.
“In addition to providing an industry response to the Ministry of Justice consultation next week, the DMA will lead industry engagement with ministers and officials at the MoJ, MPs and MEPs to ensure that the
views of the creative industries are represented in the legislative process.”

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