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New Guidance on Direct Marketing issued by Data Protection Commission

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By Lisa Broderick, Rowena McCormack, Julie-Anne Binchy & Charlotte Burke


Published 15 October 2019


The Data Protection Commission ("DPC") recently published an article on direct marketing which provides guidance to individuals on dealing with and opting out of direct marketing. In the article, the DPC remarks that it has received a significant number of queries recently in relation to marketing and it is in this context that the guidance has been released.

Direct marketing is governed by both the General Data Protection Regulation ("GDPR") and the ePrivacy Regulations (SI 336/2011). The DPC's article looks at unsolicited direct marketing and advises individuals that any marketing material received by them should always include a valid address to which an "unsubscribe" request may be sent. The general rule for direct marketing is that it requires the affirmative consent of the recipient and the recipient may withdraw his or her consent at any time.

The DPC also states that direct marketing may not always be unsolicited and that if an individual has an ongoing or recent business relationship with an organisation, in the context of the sale of a product or service, marketing contact from that organisation might not be unsolicited. This is something that many individuals may not be aware of. The organisation may only engage in direct marketing in this scenario if the product or service being marketed is the organisation's own, is similar to what was previously sold to the individual and the individual was provided with an opportunity to object to direct marketing at the time of the provision of his or her personal details to the organisation.

The DPC's article directs individuals who have been subject to unlawful direct marketing communications to its online form where they can submit their concerns to the DPC. To read the DPC's article in full, click here.