EU

Brexit and the Digital Single Market: Three ways forward

Now that the dust has begun to settle from the UK’s Brexit referendum, I am seeing more and more measured articles discussing a number of vexing issues, including its impact on data protection legislation.

While I am not an EU attorney, I am a Chief Privacy Officer at a US based technology company and a privacy wonk, so I want to throw my unsolicited thoughts into the mix.

Could Brexit be the biggest threat to London’s digital sector?

The recent Mayoral Tech Manifesto sets out proposals to continue London’s development as a digital city, and has highlighted a talent shortage as its number one concern.

Though current immigration regulation is less of a concern for those businesses surveyed, the manifesto doesn’t directly tackle the issue of the UK’s possible exit from the EU (a central government affair).

Has the Brexit debate as yet ignored the ramifications for tech, an increasingly important industry in the capital?

The end of the Safe Harbor Agreement: What next for digital marketing?

Businesses are reeling this week from the news that the European courts have ruled that data transfers to the US via the ‘Safe Harbor‘ agreement are no longer valid.

For digital marketers this news could spell trouble, with across-the-pond data movement being part of the modern digital landscape.

So is this the end of digital marketing as we know it, or just a storm in a tea cup?  

New EU VAT regulations threaten small businesses #VATMOSS

Changes to EU VAT place of supply of services rules threaten constitute a threat to small businesses which provide digital services. 

From January 1 2015, The place of taxation will be determined by the location of the consumer, not the location of the supplier. 

This essentially means that businesses will need to pay VAT to each country where sales originate. 

In this post, I’ll attempt to explain the new rules and how they may affect SMEs.

The EU ‘cookie law’: what has it done for us?

It’s now more than two years since the cookie law began to be ‘enforced’ in the UK, but has it changed anything? 

In the run up to the May 2012 ‘deadline’ there was plenty of confusion from online businesses over the steps required to comply with the directive, thanks to some unclear instructions. 

Now cookie notices are seen on most websites, though the ICO received just 38 ‘concerns’ about cookies on sites between April and June 2014. 

So was it worth the effort? Are cookie notices just an irritant? Is it totally irrelevant given the activities of the NSA? Or has this law been useful in raising awareness of cookies? 

The EU Consumer Rights Directive: should etailers be worried?

After the fiasco that was the EU ‘cookie law’, the words ‘EU directive’ are sure to strike fear in the UK’s marketers and ecommerce professionals. 

Now, there’s another EU directive on the way, which has implications for UK retail. It’s the Directive on Consumer Rights and aims to improve consumer protection when shopping online. 

To be fair, there are some good points in the directive, but also some that may concern retailers if this comes to pass, depending on the final implementation. 

COOKIES

Cookie compliance: Econsultancy analyses the latest ICO guidance

I’ve been on record a number of times saying that I think the EC Directives relating to cookies are fundamentally flawed. We could make a parallel with the current UK/EU Euro ‘situation’ but let’s not go there. In the UK the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has a duty to enforce these directives and, as they say, “This isn’t going away. It’s the law.”

Yesterday the ICO released its updated guidance for UK website owners. You can download the PDF from the link in the news release. 

Given the tough task of interpretation, guidance and enforcement that is the ICO’s duty, I have to say that I think this document is a valiant and comprehensive effort given the task and I’d commend them for this. I would urge you to read it for the full details. It is clearly written and quite practical.

Below are some of my initial thoughts on reading this latest guidance.

US marketers can no longer self-regulate

With the DMA announcing their new one million dollar PR campaign “Data-Driven Marketing Institute,” the question of privacy and rules around customer data has become a greater focus of some of the panels this morning. Jordon Cohen of Moveable Ink, brought up the headline “Target knows a teenage girl is pregnant before her own father does” and posed the question: have we finally gone too far?

For those of you who didn’t read this headline in February, an irate father charged into a Target store demanding they stop targeting his teenage daughter with emails full of baby products because she wasn’t pregnant. It turns out Target was right, and the father was wrong. She was pregnant and her shift in product purchase at Target made the marketers behind the brand know of her news before any of the world may have known.

Jason Scoggins of Freshpair stressed that targeting has to go through a “creep” filter and in the case of the Target example, they went too far.