May 2003

Internet, Telecommunications

The draft DTI (UK government’s Department of Trade & Industry) Regulations to implement the European Commission’s Privacy and Electronic Communications Directive were published on the 27th March 2003. The Privacy Directive aim is to ensure that the rules which currently apply to phone and fax services will be extended to email and SMS and that privacy will be respected when individuals use electronic networks and services. Key new features include the right of individuals to give consent (in the form of an opt in) prior to the sending of unsolicited commercial email and SMS messages. Cookies and similar software tracking devices will be subject to a requirement for greater transparency and anyone using them on a web site should provide information about them to subscribers or users and offer users the opportunity to refuse them. There are also stronger rights for individual subscribers who will be able to decide whether or not they want to be listed in subscriber directories.
The full consultation document is available on the DTI web site at:
For comment by Melissa Bailey, see www.simkins.com/archive/sim_archive.asp

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