ICO poised to draw up new code for direct marketing

parliament-once-more-2The Digital Rights Bill has passed through the commitee stage reasonably unscathed, despite seeing the direct marketing industry being savaged, with MPs giving the Information Commissioner’s Office powers to draw up rules on new direct marketing practice.
The Bill gives the ICO a broad remit to put forward new rules in accordance with the Data Protection Act and the Privacy & Electronic Communications Act, but the regulator must take into account the views of trade associations, members of the public and bodies that represent members of the public.
The Bill now moves into the report stage before being introduced in the House of Lords. If it becomes law in its current state, the ICO’s power to rewrite direct marketing practice is likely to be adopted by the Government.
The chance to influence the content of the Bill during committee stage has now passed, although the DMA decided not to make representation on behalf of the direct marketing sector.
However, the trade body did discuss the topic with the Government and the ICO in the run-up to the commitee stage but insists it did not need to formally put in a submission because it was broadly in agreement with the measures.
Verso Group operations and compliance director Dene Walsh said: “The mood noise behind the Bill indicates a tightening of regulations, and this has to be a good thing as long as it is aimed at eliminating rogue behaviour by ensuring good practice.
“It will be important that we make as strong a case as possible to the ICO during consultancy stage to emphasise that strong workable rules go hand in hand in protecting the public and ethical marketers.”

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