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Electronic marketing and internet use

Electronic marketing
Are there rules specifically governing unsolicited electronic marketing (spam)?

In general, the opt-out principles concerning direct marketing apply in the Czech Republic. Under the Act on the Protection of Personal Data, if the data controller or data processor carries out personal data processing for the purpose of offering business opportunities or services to the data subject, the data subject's first name, surname and address may be used for this purpose without consent – provided that the data was acquired from a public list or in relation to the data controller or data processor’s activity and the data subject has not expressed his or her disagreement therewith.

Conversely, the Act on Certain Information Society Services provides for an opt-in mechanism regarding the use of electronic contact details (eg, email addresses, telephone numbers, instant messaging numbers and Skype numbers). Thus, electronic contact details cannot be used for commercial communication without the data subject’s prior consent, subject to one exception: the email address of an existing customer (ie, a person with whom the sender has previously conducted business) can be used for that purpose until the customer rejects the sending of future commercial communications, if this was not rejected from the outset.

Cookies
Are there rules governing the use of cookies?

The use of cookies is regulated by the Act on Electronic Communications, which is intended to implement the so-called ‘cookie clause’ of the EU e-Privacy Directive. Unlike the e-Privacy Directive, the act provides for an opt-out (and not an opt-in) requirement. In particular, the use of cookies is permitted if:

  • the user or subscriber has been informed of the purposes of the data processing and his or her rights; and
  • the data controller has offered the user or subscriber the possibility of opting out before installing the cookies.

However, this obligation does not apply to activities relating to the use of cookies for the purposes of performing or facilitating message transmission via the electronic communications network. It also does not apply to cases where the use of cookies is needed for the provision of a service explicitly requested by the user (eg, the shopping cart in an online store).

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