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DMA raises concerns about EU Data Protection Regulation draft’s effect on how businesses market goods

The Direct Marketing Association (DMA) has raised concerns that the EU’s new draft Data Protection Regulation will pose a severe threat to the ability for UK businesses to use data to market their goods and services to consumers.

The body is worried that proposals for the comprehensive reform of data protection legislation will lead to negative consequences for companies.

Chris Combemale, executive director of the DMA, said: “UK businesses need to be worried about the potential impact of the Data Protection Regulation on their ability to market their goods and services to consumers. Severe restrictions on the way in which they can use personal data for marketing purposes will be hugely damaging to sales.

“Since 2009 [when the Data Protection Directive came up for review], we’ve been leading the industry’s efforts to ensure that the EU’s policymakers take the industry’s interests into full consideration. We’ve achieved some success because the move toward an opt-in only regime for offline direct marketing hinted at in early leaked drafts wasn’t in the official draft text published today. However, we mustn’t be complacent because there remains every possibility this could be reinstated at a later stage.

“There are a number of other points in the Regulation that we are also concerned about and we’ll studying these in detail. This is just the start of a long process before the Regulation comes into law. We’ll be conducting research to assess the economic impact of the Regulation on the multi-billion pound direct marketing industry so that we can put a strong case to the lawmakers at every stage to ensure that there are no detrimental consequences for the industry.

“We fully appreciate the need for data protection rules to be in place to build consumer trust in sharing their information with companies, but getting this balance wrong will have terrible financial consequences to UK plc.”

The EU has said the initiative will “help reinforce consumer confidence in online services, providing a much needed boost to growth, jobs and innovation in Europe.”

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