The ICO have just published the draft of their Direct Marketing Code of Practice.

This is a statutory code which means that you must comply with it and failure to do so may result in enforcement action including a substantial fine.

You can download a copy of the draft code using this link

Past experience has demonstrated that the final version varies very little from the draft. So, it’s important that you familiarise yourself with the code as soon as possible so that you can make any changes when the new code goes live in a few months.

I will send out a detailed summary of the code in a few weeks’ time once I have had the time to fully digest this document, but please don’t delay in reading it for yourself there are some significant changes ahead.

A couple of highlights to whet your appetite.
• Soft opt in for email marketing would seem to be back on the table, although with a number of very significant restrictions and hoops to jump through in place. (Don’t forget that PECR is due to be updated later this year so we could see soft opt in taken away as soon as it was given back).
• For the most part social media marketing/advertising will only be permitted with opt in consent
• Tough new rules on the use of cookies for marketing and advertising
• Clarity on the boundaries of service-based communications and marketing

As always, the ICO leave interpretation of the code to the data controller and aren’t always as specific as they could be in providing much needed clarity in this very high-risk sector.