DMA Warns Members About Coming EU 'Opt-In' Law

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The Direct Marketing Association alerted members this month that the European Union's Privacy and Electronic Communications Directive takes effect in all member states by Oct. 31.

The directive will require marketers to receive prior consent from consumers before using a recorded message during telemarketing or sending unsolicited e-mail and faxes. In addition to being implemented in member states, many candidate countries are enacting similar laws. In total, the directive will become policy in 25 nations.

"The EU's policy simply does not help either businesses or consumers," said Charles Prescott, the DMA's vice president of international business development and government affairs. "Banning commercial e-mail keeps the consumers in the dark about new products and opportunities. It will only stop e-mail from legitimate companies because the real spammers are not going to pay attention to any law."

The DMA thinks that a legislated and enforced "opt-out" system strikes the right balance between business and consumer interests if it is combined with focused efforts in the consumer protection field. The association said it will continue to study this issue, and will update its members and the public as information becomes available.

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