Redefinition of direct marketing?

The ICO has recently offered new guidance on direct marketing for public sector organisations. Even if that does not apply to you, it is perhaps a signpost of things to come as the UK exercises its rights to make its own data protection regulations after leaving the EU.

The ICO article is very detailed, but essentially it seems to add a classification of email and/or SMS messages that may not be subject to PECR.

To the existing classifications of:

  • Service or transactional messages – essential to provide a service e.g. order acknowledgement, confirmation of donation – not normally subject to PECR
  • Direct marketing messages – promoting the interests or values of the organisation – normally subject to PECR

the ICO now additionally talks of promotional messages and states that “promotional messages that are necessary for your task or functions do not constitute direct marketing.”

If you are a public sector organisation, I encourage you to read the full article and work through the implications (or contact us for help), but I wonder if we will look back and see this as the first of the data protection rules to be relaxed?