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EU Privacy and Electronic Communications Directive

How are you preparing?

     
11:43 am on Sep 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Hello all

I am wondering how/if you are preparing for the EU Privacy and Electronic Communications Directive becoming law in the UK in December 11?

I must admit to being extremely confused as to what I am supposed to add to clients' sites, or how they must be amended to be within the law.

How does this apply to the US, or companies outside the EU.

Very interested in your own thoughts and preparations ready for December.

Mark

11:54 am on Sept 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

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mark,

do you have a link to the EU goverment webpage, would like to read it and see what they are really saying!

12:15 pm on Sept 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Hello Caine

This, in effect is one of the problems!

I have found this link
[dti.gov.uk ]
to the DTI web site, but it is full of Government jargon and doesn't seem to offer any sound advice to the web marketer/webmaster.

My very basic understanding is compells us to include a range of options for collecting user data and if a site uses cookies ie, a privacy statement.

What I am unsure of is just what, legally, we have to include in the statment, or any additional functionality it requires a site to have...

12:33 pm on Sept 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

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DIRECTIVE 2002/58/EC OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 12 July 2002 here [oftel.gov.uk].

CONSULTATION DOCUMENT IMPLEMENTATION OF THE DIRECTIVE ON PRIVACY AND ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATIONS Department of Trade and Industry March 2003 here [dti.gov.uk].

IMPLEMENTATION OF THE DIRECTIVE ON PRIVACY AND ELECTRONIC
COMMUNICATIONS GOVERNMENT’S RESPONSE TO CONSULTATION 18 SEPTEMBER 2003 here [dti.gov.uk].

If you have to read about this :) the last one is the latest and most informative.

12:33 am on Sept 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

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I've printed out the latter, will read it when i have a spare hour at work. Will let you know what i think tommorrow.
8:02 am on Sept 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Thanks Caine and Georgeek

I am wondering about many possible 'grey areas' in the legistlation, such as an 'email a friend' feature.

Does this mean that if a visitor emails a page of your site to a friend that your site is in breach of the law, in that your site has sent an unsolicited email and, by the very nature of this feature, cannot offer an unsubscribe as they haven't actually subscribed to receive info from you?

10:14 am on Sept 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

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I am wondering about many possible 'grey areas' in the legistlation, such as an 'email a friend' feature.

That's a very good question markd. I can see how it could be deemed 'unsolicited' on the other hand in some respects it isn't! I guess no one will know for sure until, and in the unlikely event, the first recipient of such an email takes action. I am certainly not going to remove this feature from the toolbox until I see the large corporates doing so on advice from their in-house lawyers.

Don't you just love governments who know what's best for business :) It is even worse when they have to incorporate the Alice in Kafka-land rules from the EU.

Edited - spelling correction

4:59 pm on Sept 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

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You're right there!

Today I have had a 'panicking' client on who wants to put a Privacy statement on every single, conventional 'mailto' link on their site!

She is worried that her company will be in contravention of this legislation!

5:26 pm on Sept 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

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How about showing the 'panicking' client any one of the 1,000's of recipies on the Sainsburys website that can be emailed to a friend.
7:03 pm on Sept 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

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... plus the 'job search' sites.

But, they all could be in contravention the letter of this law, as they are all unsolicited emails sent to individuals through a web site. I wonder if the first head honcho at a rival supermarket would test the legislation if he received a receipe from his competitor's site :)

I have pointed out to her that mailto's actually allow people to email HER company, rather than vice versa.

I just find all this agro extremely tiresome...

ps. As this thread has only 3 contributors so far, I wonder if the answer to my question 'how are you preparing' is that most people are not!

7:38 pm on Sept 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

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If your clients already practice opt-in email marketing, it will have little effect on them and there is not really any cause for concern. If their current & future business practice is to spam, they should be seriously worried.

Spam is universally loathed & is now only practiced by the ignorant & the morally-challenged. Most businesses therefore don't need to worry.

In addition, most of the directive is concerned with marketing to consumers, not businesses. If it's B2C, you can email existing customers about related products, but you can't email them about non-related products (without getting further permission). A privacy policy is advisable, though not necessarily required.

Bottom line...if someone is based in the EU and continues spamming once the directive comes into force, I guess we'll see them in court. Having said that, if you're outside the EU, I can't really see how they can possibly enforce it.

In terms if what measures people are taking, I am recommending that clients reconfirm the opt-in status of their subscribers.

8:03 pm on Sept 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Additional....

As far as "email a friend" stuff goes, it is good practice to capture & log the IP address of the sender (I also embed the user's IP in any "tell a friend" emails).

As far as cookies go, "anyone that employs these kinds of devices must provide information on them and allow subscribers or users to refuse to accept them if they wish".

8:24 pm on Sept 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Just to put your mind at rest, neither my company or this client are in the habit of practicing 'spam' email.

As far as I could see the directive affects all companies whether they are B2C, B2B or otherwise.

What I am trying to find out is how others are preparing for it - I guess you've answered that.

10:43 pm on Oct 1, 2003 (gmt 0)

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I had a read eventually. I do like what its saying being on the other end of the spammers reign of terror - though its got a long way before its law.
8:40 am on Oct 2, 2003 (gmt 0)

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< its got a long way before its law.>

My understanding is it's actually law on Dec. 11 this year!

I think the fundamental objective is great (although don't know how this will be enforced for non-UK companies), what worries me is the grey areas.

Despite previous comments, things like 'email a friend' concern me and how not for profit or charities may be affected, particularly connected to the clause about 'existing customer relationships' and 'marketing of similar products or services'.

I suppose that an 'opt-out' option on all emails or other e-communications may be a blanket answer - but this means that some kind of list management functionality is almost compulsory for all.

Like all new legistlation (a bit like a new software issue) I'm sure that they will wait for some unfortunate to become a 'test case' before they iron out 'the bugs'. I would put money on this company being an innocent party, rather than the serial spammers we would all like to see stamped upon.

 

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