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Direct Marketing Commission - Enforcing Higher Industry Standards

News

News

DMC welcomes the DMA and industry’s continued focus on data security 23rd February, 2011

Speaking following the February meeting of the Commission, George Kidd, Chief Commissioner, strongly welcomed the major DMA conference planned in March on data protection. He said:

“Direct marketing, by definition, relies on the data needed to target marketing and other messages – and also to respect the preferences of those who do not want to receive various forms of marketing. But data is not just an asset of value to businesses. It is the accumulation of information about individuals, businesses and other bodies. The sensitivity of much of the personal information stored is obvious, and this is as true of some information held by companies as it is of information held by Government.

With or without the law that covers this, and the strong new sanctions the ICO now has, it is clear that all involved have a duty to take proper care of the data they have, ensuring it is secure as well as accurate. The small number of complaints we have seen recently mostly relate to the accuracy of data and mechanisms for refreshing it and making revisions. But we have also been involved in cases where there has been a worry that information was being delivered in an unencrypted form in which it could have been read, used or sold on by anyone.

A recent case at the DMC involved a concern that unencrypted lists had been sent by e-mail. It is clear that the ease and economy with which huge volumes of data can be mailed in an instant or carried on a tiny key, smart-phone or notebook raises new challenges over how we protect this data. There is not a lot of point in elaborate on-site physical, electronic and staff security if a huge volume of highly sensitive data can fall out of pocket or get left in a train or cab or e-mailed to the wrong person or even a total stranger with a single click.

In the cases seen so far we have been satisfied that no harm has resulted, and we know the industry is alert to this risk. Alongside Code rules, compliance advice and guidance material, the DMA DataSeal scheme and events such as the March Data Conference exist to keep standards high and data secure.  We warmly welcome the attention given to this by the direct marketing industry and the DMA. As the body responsible for dealing with public complaints over these and other direct marketing matters we too have data security as a top priority.”

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