DMA Urges Bluetooth Caution
The Direct Marketing Association (DMA) is urging marketers to exercise caution when considering the permission implications of Bluetooth following the Information Commissioners Offices (ICOs) recent decision to exclude Bluetooth from its guidance on compliance with the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR).
The DMA says it has always felt that the spirit of the PECR, in terms of permission and control, should apply to any electronic messaging medium. The DMA Mobile Marketing Councils Best Practice advice reflects this and, to this extent, the DMA believes that the ICOs decision is not material to such Best Practice advice. The ICO has reasoned that Bluetooth, as a local transmission technology, does not use a public electronic communications network and so is outside of the scope of the PECR.
Nick Fuller, chair of the DMA Mobile Marketing Council, says:
The fact remains that Bluetooth may now be in a no mans land, especially since the technology itself precludes the ability for a consumer to give permission before an advertiser sends a message (the only possible exception being the pairing of devices an impractical step for commercial messaging).
Whilst it is understandable that the ICO sees Bluetooth as falling outside of the PECR legislation in terms of its underlying technology, it is important that the principles of the PECR are not lost. I am increasingly speaking to Bluetooth marketers who appreciate the principle of permission and who approach potential applications accordingly, but it would be naive to assume that this will always be the case. We recommend to our members to err on the side of caution when considering the permission implications of Bluetooth. We would certainly like to have a more definitive legislative position. However, the question remains as to under whose auspices, now that it is not the ICO's.