Italian Privacy Commissioner Issues Updated Guidelines To Prevent Spam And To Regulate Promotional Initiatives And Direct Marketing

Author:Dr. Felix Hofer
Profession:Studio Legale Hofer Lösch Torricelli

Direct Marketers have now a better understanding about the rules governing their promotional strategies performed on 'new media' and targeted to users of social networks or of messaging services.

On July 4th, the Italian Privacy Commissioner ("Autorità Garante per la protezione dei dati personali") has released its updated guidelines containing the criteria and requirements the direct marketing industry will have to consider from now on.

Businesses active in this sector will have to follow some 'golden rules' when drafting and performing their marketing strategies.

Opt-in requirement: commercial offers and promotional material of any kind may be delivered via automated systems (such as: pre-recorded phone messages, e-mail, fax, sms, mms) exclusively on targeted subject's informed, specific and freely expressed consent (where such consent on request has to be substantiated by written documents), Control obligations: companies adopting such direct marketing strategies and relying on third parties for organizing and handling promotional campaigns, are called to exercise proper control in order to avoid that incorrect conduct is performed by such third parties in charge of contacting potential clients. Social Networks and Messaging Services: specific in-advance consent is also required for automated delivery or 'viral' and 'targeted' marketing directed to users of social networks as well as of messaging services. The fact that users' data may be available and accessible on such platforms (e. g. on a Facebook wall, or chat rooms) does not exempt from seeking such consent. Word of Mouth: Consent is not required for informing friends via e-mail or sms about commercial offers. Promotional e-mails to existing clients: such commercial communication (so-called 'soft spam') is allowed without further requirements, provided it relates to products or services...

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