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Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations 2003

Any organisation that wishes to process an individual's personal data to target them with direct marketing has to comply with the Data Protection Act 1998. If the direct marketing is to be delivered by electronic means the organisation also has to comply with the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations 2003 (Privacy and Electronic Communications Requlations 2003).

The Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations 2003 are based on EC Directive 95/46/EC: the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data.

When the ICO make a reference to the Privacy and Electronic Communications Requlations 2003 they will always mention that the regulations are based on the EC Directive - because the Directive is the main legislation here. The Privacy and Electronic Communications Requlations 2003 is the UK's* adoption (and adaptation) of the EC Directive by the Secretary of State, which is why they are called Regulations and not Act; the Privacy and Electronic Communications Requlations 2003 contains UK specific regulations based on the EC Directive.

The ICO therefore may refer to both the Privacy and Electronic Communications Requlations 2003 and EC Directive when dealing with a Privacy and Electronic Communications Requlations 2003 complaint. On the subject of consent for example, there is no definition of consent in the Privacy and Electronic Communications Requlations 2003 so the ICO rely on the definition of consent given in Article 2(h) of the EC Directive.

In September 2013 the Information Commissioner published a newer version of his Direct Marketing Code of PracticeNew window. while still not perfect - there's no mention of the growing trend in feedback e-mails and whether or not these constitute electronic marketing for example, it sill a huge improvement. As such, much of the information that I've written about in this section is likely to be out of date so I've removed the links. When I build a new vesion of the site I'll look to remove it.

*I use "UK" here for convenience. I accept that Scotland may have their own variation of the EC Directive. I know the Channel Islands have their own Data Protection (Jersey) Law 2005.