Information Commissioner’s Marketing Data Comments ‘A Sign Of Shifting Attitudes’

Lawyers React To Suggestion That Lists Should Be Refreshed

03.09.2015

The Information Commissioner’s suggestion that companies should refresh their marketing lists is a sign that authorities are shifting their attitudes in line with the EU’s upcoming General Data Protection Regulation, according to legal experts.

Reacting to fresh concerns regarding the type of consumer data being shared between companies, the Information Commissioner Christopher Graham said that information should “only be processed fairly and lawfully”.

He explained in a blog on the ICO website: “The law expects you to bear in mind people’s interests and people’s expectations.

“If people say ‘I never gave you permission to do that’ and you respond ‘well, yes you did actually, because in 1994 you forgot to tick a box’, then that isn’t consent. That doesn’t give you the right to trade in people’s personal information years after the event.”

According to data protection experts at Irwin Mitchell, it is interesting that the Information Commissioner is being explicit about the need to refresh marketing permissions regularly.

Expert Opinion
“The comments from Christopher Graham should be seen by companies as a shot across the bows that they should no longer rely on older marketing lists to either market or sell products to the general public.

“In general, this is indicative of the attitude that has been developing for some time as the UK moves closer to implementing the EU’s new General Data Protection Regulation.

“While discussions on passing the laws continue and there remains no word on when it will be implemented, it would appear that some of the basic principles are already being considered by authorities.

“The Information Commissioner’s views should be taken by businesses as an early sign that they need to carefully consider the data they are using for marketing purposes – primarily as to whether they have the right consents and whether they are up to date.”
Joanne Bone, Partner