Expert commentator | Smart Insights | Thu, 08 Dec 2016 15:00:00 +0000

Digital Economy Bill update: New Marketing Code Sanctioned By Commons Committee

The Committee stage of the Digital Economy Bill has passed with a change to the Data Protection Act 1998. The key consideration is that the Information Commissioners Office is being given powers to put forward rules for a new direct marketing code that will apply to relevant areas of digital marketing.

The significant element of the act will be the instruction to the ICO to prepare a code that includes practical guidance in accordance with the Data Protection and Privacy and Electronic Communications Acts, plus introduce any other appropriate measures necessary to promote good practice.

The act gives the ICO a broad remit to put forward new rules, but must take into account the views of trade associations, members of the public and bodies that represent members of the public.

Brexit picture

The Bill now moves into report stage before being introduced in the House of Lords. If it becomes law in its current state the ICO’s power to rewrite direct marketing practice is likely to be adopted by the Government.

The chance to influence the content of the Bill during Committee stage has now past, but with the ICO being directed by Parliament to consult representative bodies, including those of the digital marketing sector, there will be a chance to influence the outcome.

The Digital Economy Bill is likely to become statute before the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into effect in May 2018. GDPR will apply to the UK until Brexit has been completed, and it is generally believed that it will be adopted post Brexit, or the law on data and privacy law be very similar to it in order to leave European consumer markets open to UK business.

If you need to know more about the Digital Economy Bill and how it could affect your business, read our briefing on the bill.