Belgian DMA Looks at Privacy and E-Commerce

BRUSSELS – Although the Belgian DMA’s annual conference this month has the “future of integrated marketing” as a theme, much of the meeting’s focus will be on the thicket of privacy legislation growing up around the European Union.

A special session has been set aside as “Legal Day” to discuss the various issues the increasingly heated debate about privacy in Belgium and in the EU are bringing to the forefront of public concern.

A new law on the protection of private life will be analyzed from the point of view of the government, the privacy commission, and from that of ABDM, the Belgian DMA.

Patrick Van Eecke of KU Leuven will lay out all the legal requirements a company setting up a website engaging in e-commerce must meet while Laurent de Brower will delve into the regulations governing sweepstakes and other games of chance long used in direct marketing.

The rest of the program hews more to direct marketing tradition. Erik Van Vooren, who runs a DM academy in Antwerp will open the proceedings, while OgilvyOne Worldwide’s London creative director, Rory Southerland, will talk about “one-to-one brand building in the interactive age.”

Southerland argues that in this inter-active age the nature of the brand and of the client, and the relationship between them, has to be rethought. feed’s Saline Schemed will talk about “one-to-one in express parcel service,” and Paul Kerley about the intelligent approach to integrated marketing.

Paul Reutling, the president of Sabena, the Belgian airline, will close Le Themadag with “his vision of integrated marketing,” taking the airline business as his case in point.

The conference follows an ABMD decision to take a more active hand in e-commerce. On Sept. 27 the association launched a national e-commerce platform.

“Providers and users of e-commerce now have an association that will defend their interests and promote the sector,” ABMD’s Patrick Marck said, adding that twenty companies have already joined the undertaking.

At opening ceremonies the Belgian telecommunications minister, Rik Daems, urged the e-commerce businesses to set up codes of conduct and thus avoid complicated laws “which take more time to adapt to the evolution of society.”

ABMD promised to do so. It has scheduled a first meeting of the platform later this month.

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