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EU data proposals ‘far worse’ than originally thought, warns DMA

10th Jan 2013
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The Direct Marketing Association (DMA) has warned that the recent changes to EU proposals on consumer data protection are "far worse for UK businesses" than previously thought.

The marketing body's concerns follow the publication of European Parliament Committee’s proposed amendments to the draft EU Data Protection Regulation earlier this week.

The amendments made by German Green Party MEP Jan Albrecht to clauses including the definition of personal data, limitations on customer profiling, consent to direct marketing and the so-called 'right to be forgotten' will severely infringe the right of businesses to use information to market their goods and services to consumers, said the DMA.

According to the trade association, this will have immediate consequences for businesses.

The DMA also criticised EU lawmakers for not considering concerns raised by the industry over the original proposals, claiming an imbalance between the protection of consumer data privacy and the legitimate interests of business. 

Caroline Roberts from the DMA, said: “The original draft of the Regulation posed a severe threat to the viability of UK businesses that depend on direct marketing to drive sales. These amendments are even worse for UK businesses. The proposed legislation is overly strict and unworkable. It will stifle innovation, add considerable cost to business and place unnecessary obstacles to e-commerce jobs and growth.

“This announcement has now made data protection a priority for businesses, and we call on them as a matter of urgency to get involved. Our data protection conference on 8 February will help businesses to get informed and get involved to raise political awareness of what's at stake."

She added: “We’ve been leading the industry’s efforts since 2009 to ensure that the EU’s policymakers take the industry’s interests into full consideration. We'll continue to lobby both UK Ministers and MEPs, alongside our industry colleagues under the umbrella of the Advertising Association, to ensure they understand the need to create a balanced piece of legislation that protects the data privacy rights of individuals and the commercial interests of businesses.

Recent DMA research revealed a total £14.2bn was invested in data-driven marketing last year – generating 23% of UK firms’ total sales.

Albrecht’s Report is likely to be amended before a final vote is taken by all MEPs in the early summer. Final legislation is expected to become law in 2015/16.

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