01 June 1998

The DMA has circularised all MPs with a summary of its position on the EC's Privacy in Telecommunications Directive. The paper, summarised, takes the stance that:

Overall: The DMA shares government concern that the legislation is implemented in a way that balances business interests with individuals' privacy rights.

Fax messages: Whilst accepting that marketing faxes should not be sent to 'natural persons' [EC-speak for private individuals] without prior consent, the DMA argues that legislation governing the sending of such faxes to businesses should be a matter for the discretion of member states.

Unsolicited Telephone Marketing: The directive allows member states to decide on an opt-in or opt-out scheme. The DMA urges the government to press for the UK's current opt-out policy, as operated by the Telephone Preference Service.

E-mail: If it is ruled that Article 12 of the directive covers e-mail, the DMA urges the government to adopt the opt-out route which can be implemented via the DMA's shortly-to-be-launched E-mail Preference Service.

Telephone Directory Opt-Outs: Oftel recommends that private subscribers listed in telephone directories should be able to request an asterisk against their entry indicating a wish not to receive any direct marketing approaches. Whilst supporting Oftel's aims, the DMA strongly objects to the use of telephone directories for this purpose, arguing that much directory content is out of date from the moment of publication and that the Telephone Preference Service already offers consumers sufficient protection [although not from directory-based mailshots].

A full version of the DMA paper is available to members by calling 0171 766 4414.