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DMA calls for brands and agencies to protest EU data reform proposals

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By Jessica Davies, News Editor

February 8, 2013 | 3 min read

The Direct Marketing Association (DMA) is calling for brands, agencies and suppliers to contest EU data reform proposals, which if passed could stunt industry growth and innovation.

Speaking at the DMA’s Data Protection conference in London this morning the DMA’s executive director Chris Combemale said the industry has reached a “crucial window of opportunity” in which business leaders can lobby UK members of the European Parliament (MEPs) to argue their cause against the draft EU Data Protection Regulation, unveiled last month.

These draft proposals include a redefinition of personal data, limitations on customer profiling and consent to direct marketing, which the DMA believes will harm businesses’ rights to use data to market their goods and services to consumers.

The DMA has launched an online data protection toolkit to help build awareness among marketers of how the changes could impact their businesses and how to lobby MEPs.

The body is lobbying EU lawmakers to ensure a more balanced Regulation is created that protects people’s data privacy without damaging the UK’s ecommerce market to grow and innovate.

Research conducted by the DMA has revealed the majority of the industry’s senior executives lack awareness and understanding of the potential threat to their businesses that could arise if the proposals are pushed through, according to Combemale, who described the changes as “one of the biggest long-term threats”.

“In response to this we've launched a toolkit to get to grips with potential changes to data legislation, how this could impact how we do business and how to respond to the threat.

"I ask all senior executives to take the time to log on, read up and write to their MEPs; it will be the best 20 minutes they'll invest this year in protecting the future of their livelihoods."

His comments were backed by the conference’s keynote speaker, information commissioner Christopher Graham.

“The direct marketing industry has an important role to play in the legislative process. It must focus on good practice and respect consumers. It must also remember that this is the crucial turning point in a long game; while there is a lot more work to do on the Regulation, the industry must engage further with legislators now.”

The DMA's guide to the EU Data Protection Regulation, its impact on the industry and how to lobby MEPs is available at: www.dma.org.uk/eu-data-protection

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