Joint ePrivacy Letter on Telemarketing

Ahead of the trilogue meeting on 29 September, associations representing companies from European news media, press and data marketing would like to raise serious concerns about one of the conclusions of the 4th technical trilogue on the e-Privacy Regulation.

There is great concern about proposals to delete Article 16(4). While article 16 establishes the need to obtain user consent for direct marketing communication, Article 16(4) provides Member States with flexibility to decide the rules applicable to telephone marketing in their respective territories.

The deletion of article 16(4) is not supported by the European Parliament nor Council negotiating mandates. The Commission’s original proposal, while strengthening the rules on direct marketing, also consciously maintained this flexibility. This approach strikes a good balance that reconciles the need to conduct legitimate marketing activities with the protection of privacy in electronic communications. Such an unexpected deletion would impose a one-size-fits-all opt-in regime at EU level for telephone marketing, thus negatively impacting all markets currently using an opt-out system and where telephone marketing represents an efficient and competitive activity for press publishers, non-profit organisations, and marketers.

We urge the EU institutions to preserve Article 16(4) in line with the original proposal and respective negotiating mandates to

  • ensure a future-proof e-Privacy Regulation
  • protect press publishers, NGOs and local businesses in the absence of a sound evidence-based analysis and a specific impact assessment, and
  • clarify that telephone marketing is included within the scope of article 16(2) for contacting existing customers.