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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 principle concerning direct marketing applies. Under the Data Protection Act, if the controller or processor carries out personal data processing for the purpose of offering business opportunities or services to the data subject, the data subject's title, name, surname and address may be used without his or her consent, provided that the data was acquired from a public list or in relation to the activities of the controller or processor, and as long as the data subject has not expressed his or her disagreement thereto.

However, the Electronic Communications Act 2011 (351/2011 Coll) provides for an opt-in mechanism regarding the use of electronic contact details (eg, email address, telephone number, instant messaging number and Skype number). In other words, no one may use electronic contact details for automated commercial communications without the prior consent of the data subject, with one exception: the email address of an existing customer (ie, a person with whom the sender has conducted previous business) may be used for this purpose until the customer objects to the sending of further commercial communications, if they were not already rejected from the outset.

Cookies
Are there rules governing the use of cookies?

The use of cookies or equivalent devices is regulated by the Electronic Communications Act 2011. The law includes the wording of revised Article 5(3) of the EU E-privacy Directive, which recognises the possibility of obtaining consent via browser settings or the settings of other software. The Electronic Communications Act 2011 states that any person that stores information on a user’s terminal equipment or gains access to information stored on such equipment shall be authorised to do so only if the user has given his or her consent on the basis of clear, comprehensive information regarding the purpose of the processing; the consent must also be for the use of a respective setting of the web browser or other computer program.

However, this obligation does not apply to activities relating to the use of cookies for the purpose of performing or facilitating message transmission via the electronic communications network, or where use of cookies is needed to provide a service explicitly requested by the user (eg, online shopping carts).

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