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UK Government launches data protection reforms - DMA responds


This morning the government published its consultation on reforms to the UK’s regulatory regime for personal data protection.

Entitled ‘Data: A new direction’ the consultation aims to create a new, pro-growth and innovation friendly data protection regime.

The Data & Marketing Association’s (DMA) CEO, Chris Combemale, has offered his support as the DMA will always champion reforms that create positive outcomes for customers, business, society and the UK economy:

“The DMA welcomes the consultation on future data protection legislation. We strongly support the proposed approach of maintaining the key principles of GDPR while clarifying areas of confusion and simplifying onerous administrative burdens on businesses. The government proposals appear to be sensible and pragmatic on ways to create greater clarity and certainty for businesses while maintaining a high level of consumer protection,” said Chris Combemale, CEO of the Data & Marketing Association. “By maintaining the core framework of UK GDPR, with improvements, we hope that it will be possible for UK to be the world’s most innovative economy while maintaining an equivalent or higher level of data protection. The DMA has strongly supported the National Data Strategy and will support a data protection regime that creates successful outcomes for people, business, government and society more broadly.”

DMA lobbying makes an impact

The proposals appear to incorporate suggestions put forward by the DMA and our Members:

  • Greater clarity around the expanded use of legitimate interests. The confusion for some businesses revolves around when and how to use the 6 bases of data processing, particularly legitimate interest (LI). For the purposes of the data and marketing industry, the main bases selected will normally be either consent or legitimate interest. The two bases are equally valid in the GDPR text, but this hasn’t been interpreted this way in the past. Because the application of legitimate interests has been seen to be more confusing, some organisations have opted for Consent by default which is not always the best way to collect and use data.
  • The extension of soft opt-in for email to the charity sector – the government proposes to make it clear that soft-in applies to charity donations. As it stands, the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulation (PECR) says that charities are unable to use soft opt-in for campaigning. However, commercial organisations are able to use it when offering similar goods or services to existing customers.
  • Reduced administrative burdens on businesses to fulfil accountability/compliance requirements.

How can DMA Members help?

To help frame the DMA’s response we want industry perspectives on the consultation.

Having as many DMA Member voices heard as possible, will help the DMA to build a potent, inclusive response to the consultation and to help drive policy in a direction that best benefits the data and marketing industry and the customers it serves.

The proposals should provide much-needed clarity that our industry seeks to establish a better balance between data innovation and privacy.

With the government’s proposals in place, the DMA hopes that the UK will become a global leader in data-driven innovation – inspiring other nations to adopt the UK’s high standards of privacy protection that prioritise building consumer trust in the modern digital economy.

To have your say, please get in touch with the DMA’s director of policy & compliance, John Mitchison at

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