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Marketing and Privacy: Companies Forewarned, Consumers Forearmed

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Marketing and Privacy: Companies Forewarned, Consumers Forearmed
The Garante´s Rules for Privacy-Proof Marketing

Who can you turn to if harassed by unsolicited phone calls? May one keep track of a consumer´s navigation online? How to prevent marketing from backfiring on your company´s reputation? What rules must a company follow to contact prospective customers on social networks?

These are only a few of the questions addressed by the new Vademecum called ‘UP WITH TIPS, DOWN WITH SPAM. Privacy-Proof Marketing from Your Telephone to the Supermarket´, which was released by the Italian Garante (Data Protection Authority) to explain consumers what rights they have and how to exercise them – but also to urge companies to cultivate straightforward relationships with their customers and prevent marketing from turning into the ‘wild west´ of spam. The guidance drafted by the Authority contains explanations, tips, and rules on how to reconcile privacy with market requirements.

Consumers will find out how to prevent a company from violating their privacy and interfering with their lives without their permission – via unsolicited calls or mails or by lurking in the shadow when they go shopping. Companies will find guidance on how to join forces with consumers – listening to them and turning them into loyal customers without being intrusive; they will also find in-depth information on the many decisions adopted by the Garante to foster privacy-compliant marketing.

The Vademecum provides specific insight into standing issues related to telephone marketing and the operation of the Opt-Out Register (Registro delle Opposizioni), and it also deals with loyalty programmes and the new frontier of marketing via emails, instant messaging and social networks.

‘Respect for consumers and a straightforward use of their personal data – from data required to contact consumers up to highly private information on personal preferences and attitudes – make up the dividing line between the companies that are only keen to "prey" on their customers and those that decide to keep everything aboveboard focusing not only on the quality of their products and services but also, above all, on trust from their customers´ , so said the President of the Italian Authority, Antonello Soro. ‘At all events, we call for the expeditious revision of the legislation on the Opt-Out Register so as to more effectively protect consumers.´

The Vademecum

The booklet includes eight chapters in the form of FAQs, which are meant to make it easier to provide some more in-depth guidance on the most frequent questions the Garante has to address – ‘Privacy and Marketing in Companies´; ‘Freedom to Consumers: Information and Consent´; ‘Available for What Purpose: A Trump Card up Your Sleeve´; ‘The Not-So-Thin Line between Being A Personal Shopper or A Nuisance´; ‘Looking for Customers and Exchanging Data´; ‘Telephone Marketing´; ‘Web and Social Networks: Free from Spam´; ‘I Need Help! Who Can Help Me?´.

An Appendix to the Vademecum contains references to the main decisions adopted by the Garante in this area.

If you are interested in obtaining a printed copy of the Vademecum, please email your request to ufficiostampa@garanteprivacy.it ; an electronic copy can be downloaded from the Authority´s website at www.garanteprivacy.it.