The UK Information Commissioner's Office ("ICO") has introduced some new changes to its Direct Marketing Guidance, presenting more direction on what constitutes a valid consent under the applicable regulations in the context of carrying out direct marketing via calls, texts and other electronic means. Key changes include these new guidelines:

  • Indirect or third party consent and using bought-in marketing lists: indirect consent is very unlikely to be valid for marketing through emails, texts or calls. It will also be very difficult to use bought-in lists for text, email, or automatic call campaigns, as specific consent is required.
  • General categories of organizations: Consent must be "specific" and a general category of organization will not be sufficient to obtain specific consent for such marketing purposes.
  • Obtaining freely given consent: "freely given" consent must be demonstrated where any marketing consent is a condition of receiving products or services.
  • Marketing by not-for-profit organizations: In the not-for-profit sector (including charities) as well as any other sector, any messages that have a marketing element will still be caught by the definition of direct marketing even if the primary purpose for the communication is not a marketing one.