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  Law
 
Spam - the Legal Position

These days an average email inbox has more spam than a cold war bunker. The new Electronic Communications Privacy Directive (a new piece of EU legislation which must be implemented by Member States by 31 October 2002) reinforces the Data Protection Act 1998 (“DPA”) and prohibits the sending of email advertisements to individuals unless they have given their prior consent to be marketed to in that way. Whilst an email address is personal data for the purposes of the DPA and thus anyone marketing a person via email must have gained that person's consent to such marketing, to date it...

Marketing to Children and The Law

"Its that time of year when adverts and marketing gear up for the Christmas rush. Since no-one has discovered the database Santa and his elves must have to assess which child wants what present, marketeers must rely on more mundane databases to gather information and give kids as many Christmas present choices as possible. The issues of marketing to children are fraught with moral and legal issues however. The main issues for those considering targeting children to consider are: 1. Under the Data Protection Act 1998 a person can only be marketed with their consent. The most fraught issue here...

Data Protection and the Workplace - Regulatory Powers and Code of Practice

We live in a world where our personal details are beknown to an ever-increasing number of people. Just look at the amount of mailshots that land on your doormat every day. Much of this information is obtained and/or used illegally being contrary to the Data Protection Act 1998 ("the Act"). The data protection regime is administered by the Information Commissioner and based upon 8 principles set out in the Act. Obviously, complete confidentiality is an unrealistic goal but there must be limits on what use can be made of our personal details and by whom. In this article, we will...

An "easy" Target? easyGroup v BPI

Yesterday Stelios, the founder of easyGroup led the easyGroup orange boiler suit brigade in a protest at the High Court in London. The reason for the protest? easyGroup is being sued by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) for allegedly permitting unlicensed music download and copying in its easyInternetCafes. easyGroup rejects this, arguing that it does not monitor what users download and that its user terms make it clear that the service may not be used for illegal copying. easyInternetCafes stopped the CD burning service last year, but since then the BPI has tried to claim £1 million in damages from...

Domain Names - Use Them or Lose Them

The majority of disputes relating to domain names are brought under UDRP. The complaints are usually brought by the holder of a registered trade mark which is identical or very similar to the domain name in question. Disputes relating to the ownership of .com, .net, .org, .biz, info and .name top level domains as well as a considerable number of country code top level domains such as Sweden and Romania are subject to UDRP which will also govern disputes relating to .aero, .coop, .museum and .pro once they are available. Under the policy, complaints are examined by independent panels and...

Transfering customer data abroad

Boombust Limited intends to transfer details of all its existing customers to an off shore company within the same group of companies. The final decision as to where this company will be based has not yet been taken but is likely to be Jersey or Portugal. There are two issues here. First, Boombust is transferring customer data to a third party and secondly that transfer is possibly to be made to a place outside of the European Economic Area (the EU plus Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein). Although the issues are linked, they are covered by two different principles under the...

Monitoring Email in the light of the Ford Decision

The recent decision by Ford to give a two week 'amnesty' to all its twenty thousand employees in which to delete any offensive e-mails and downloads from their computers, suggests that there have been numerous complaints and perhaps a number of allegations of discrimination against the company. All employees were sent an e-mail which warned against "transmitting or possessing 'jokes' of an offensive nature, for example, content of which is sexually explicit, racially offensive or otherwise demeans people on the basis of their religion, disability, sexual orientation". They were further warned not to return to any banned internet sites as...

Mobile Marketing

Simon Halberstam of specialist e-commerce solicitors Sprecher Grier Halberstam says that companies considering email marketing campaigns need to consider some basic legal issues before spending money on such campaigns. "Ask yourself where the email address came from and whether the person whose email address it is agreed to be marketed to in this way. Under the Data Protection Act 1998, personal data which includes email addresses, can only be used for the specified purpose it was collected for. This means if a person hasn't agreed to being marketed by email, you might find yourself in breach of the DPA." But...

Call Centres and the 1998 Data Protection Act

All call centres should have a data protection policy in force and should ensure that the “legals” are read to customers at the beginning of the call so that the customer can choose whether to proceed. Some are still guilty of not doing this and of expecting customers to “opt-out” of having their details shared when in fact “opt-in” (i.e. a customer has to positively agree to have their details shared) is now the most legal approach. Call centres can also store data they collect from their clients and cross-seed the lists used for one “campaign” with another. Unless customers...

Online Casino - A new era?

Following the report published by the Gambling Review Board ("the Budd Report") last summer, the Government has produced proposals which could potentially make the UK one of the best and most responsible places to locate an online casino operation. Currently, the legislation which regulates gaming does not cover online casinos, potentially meaning that all such activities are illegal. The reason for this lies in the fact that it is the casino premises which must be licensed under current law and gaming may only legally be carried out from such licensed premises. Obviously this simply does not work with online operations...

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