At the beginning of this month, the European Union’s ‘ban on spam’ directive (PDF format) took effect:
‘Cookies’ and other invisible tracking devices that can collect information on Internet users may be utilised only if the user is given clear information about the purpose of any such invisible activity and is offered the right to refuse it.
Location data generated by mobile phones can only be further used or passed on by network operators with explicit user consent. The only exceptions are the transmission of location data to emergency services, and transmission of data to law enforcement authorities, subject to strict conditions.
E-mail marketing is only allowed with prior consent (‘opt-in’). Disguised identities and invalid return addresses are also outlawed. The new regime also covers SMS messages and other electronic messages sent to any mobile and fixed terminal.
Enforcement of the Directive is left to the individual EU countries. Several are running behind schedule with the new regime’s implementation. Only Austria, Denmark, Italy and Sweden had brought their own national laws in line with the new directive prior to its 1 November deadline.
If you’re a publisher in an EU country, please tell us if the directive if effecting you. We’ll keep your identity confidential and will share with you any research findings.