DMA Disappointed at European Commission's Proposal

So-Called 'Standard Contract' Clauses Open Privacy Policies

To Negotiation by EU Regulators



Apr 03, 2001, 01:00 ET from The Direct Marketing Association

     NEW YORK, April 3 /PRNewswire/ -- The Direct Marketing Association
 (The DMA), the leading and largest trade association for businesses interested
 in interactive and database marketing, today expressed disappointment at the
 so-called 'standard contract' proposal for database marketing made public by
 the European Commission (EC) on March 27. Non-European Union (EU) firms who do
 not participate in the Safe Harbor program, but wish to engage in database
 marketing in the EU, would be subject to ad-hoc privacy policies that would be
 privately negotiated with individual regulators.
     The DMA urges the European Parliament to reject the EC's proposal because
 it will create a hodge-podge of privacy policies and impractical legal
 impediments, which will undermine consumer confidence and raise barriers to
 international trade.
     As drafted, each non-EU database marketing firm would be subject to
 negotiating its own individual privacy policy with government regulators.
 Privacy policies that are open to negotiation would reduce consumer confidence
 and increase commercial reticence to doing business in Europe.
     "Unlike the Safe Harbor program, the EC's current proposal actually makes
 it more difficult to achieve a uniform level of privacy protection for all
 European consumers.  The EC proposal also creates legal obstacles to
 international enterprises in the EU," said Charles Prescott, vice president,
 international business development and government affairs, The DMA.  "The EC
 proposal, which is detrimental to business and consumers, was formulated
 without appropriate consultation with either group," Prescott continued.
     "The proposed new standards are not practical from a business or legal
 perspective," Prescott added.  The EC's proposed scheme reverses the normal
 rule of law and creates a presumption of liability for any two companies
 involved in database marketing.  Plaintiffs are no longer required to
 demonstrate that a misuse of data caused damage or identifying the party who
 is responsible for the damage.  "No experienced lawyer would allow his
 database marketing clients to agree to such terms," Prescott said.  "These
 stipulations make the EC's proposal impractical and will stifle international
 commerce."
     In cooperation with the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), The DMA
 continues to work toward practical forms of contracts that can truly be used
 as standards to ensure adequate, consistent protection for consumers, while
 fostering the growth of international trade.  These discussions will be shared
 with the European Parliament as it considers implementing the EC's proposal.
     The DMA is the leading and largest trade association for businesses
 interested in interactive and database marketing, with nearly 5,000 member
 companies from the United States and 53 other nations.  Founded in 1917, its
 members include direct marketers from every business segment as well as the
 nonprofit and electronic marketing sectors.  Included are catalogers, Internet
 retailers and service providers, financial services providers, book and
 magazine publishers, book and music clubs, retail stores, industrial
 manufacturers and a host of other vertical segments, including the service
 industries that support them.  According to a DMA-commissioned study, direct
 and interactive marketing sales in the United States exceeded $1.7 trillion in
 2000, including $110 billion in catalog sales and $24 billion in sales
 generated by the Internet.  The DMA's Web Site is http://www.the-dma.org and
 its consumer Web site is http://www.shopthenet.org.
 
 

SOURCE The Direct Marketing Association
     NEW YORK, April 3 /PRNewswire/ -- The Direct Marketing Association
 (The DMA), the leading and largest trade association for businesses interested
 in interactive and database marketing, today expressed disappointment at the
 so-called 'standard contract' proposal for database marketing made public by
 the European Commission (EC) on March 27. Non-European Union (EU) firms who do
 not participate in the Safe Harbor program, but wish to engage in database
 marketing in the EU, would be subject to ad-hoc privacy policies that would be
 privately negotiated with individual regulators.
     The DMA urges the European Parliament to reject the EC's proposal because
 it will create a hodge-podge of privacy policies and impractical legal
 impediments, which will undermine consumer confidence and raise barriers to
 international trade.
     As drafted, each non-EU database marketing firm would be subject to
 negotiating its own individual privacy policy with government regulators.
 Privacy policies that are open to negotiation would reduce consumer confidence
 and increase commercial reticence to doing business in Europe.
     "Unlike the Safe Harbor program, the EC's current proposal actually makes
 it more difficult to achieve a uniform level of privacy protection for all
 European consumers.  The EC proposal also creates legal obstacles to
 international enterprises in the EU," said Charles Prescott, vice president,
 international business development and government affairs, The DMA.  "The EC
 proposal, which is detrimental to business and consumers, was formulated
 without appropriate consultation with either group," Prescott continued.
     "The proposed new standards are not practical from a business or legal
 perspective," Prescott added.  The EC's proposed scheme reverses the normal
 rule of law and creates a presumption of liability for any two companies
 involved in database marketing.  Plaintiffs are no longer required to
 demonstrate that a misuse of data caused damage or identifying the party who
 is responsible for the damage.  "No experienced lawyer would allow his
 database marketing clients to agree to such terms," Prescott said.  "These
 stipulations make the EC's proposal impractical and will stifle international
 commerce."
     In cooperation with the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), The DMA
 continues to work toward practical forms of contracts that can truly be used
 as standards to ensure adequate, consistent protection for consumers, while
 fostering the growth of international trade.  These discussions will be shared
 with the European Parliament as it considers implementing the EC's proposal.
     The DMA is the leading and largest trade association for businesses
 interested in interactive and database marketing, with nearly 5,000 member
 companies from the United States and 53 other nations.  Founded in 1917, its
 members include direct marketers from every business segment as well as the
 nonprofit and electronic marketing sectors.  Included are catalogers, Internet
 retailers and service providers, financial services providers, book and
 magazine publishers, book and music clubs, retail stores, industrial
 manufacturers and a host of other vertical segments, including the service
 industries that support them.  According to a DMA-commissioned study, direct
 and interactive marketing sales in the United States exceeded $1.7 trillion in
 2000, including $110 billion in catalog sales and $24 billion in sales
 generated by the Internet.  The DMA's Web Site is http://www.the-dma.org and
 its consumer Web site is http://www.shopthenet.org.
 
 SOURCE  The Direct Marketing Association