On March 5, 2014, the French Data Protection Authority (the CNIL) issued new guidelines for consumers and e-tailers on data processing for e-commerce and direct marketing purposes

In 2012, more than 20% of the complaints received by the CNIL were related to commercial practices, and notably direct marketing. 

To address this issue, the CNIL has issued new guidelines in the form of five practical information sheets to enable consumers and e-tailers to better understand the legal framework applicable to data collection and processing in connection with:

  • online purchases;
  • direct marketing by mail or telephone;
  • contests, sweepstakes and “refer-a-friend” programs;
  • direct marketing via email, SMS or MMS; and
  • consumer tracking.

These guidelines summarize key data protection principles such as (i) the necessity of providing accurate and complete information to consumers as regards the use of their personal data, (ii) obtaining prior consent for processing data for certain purposes such as commercial solicitations or for collecting sensitive data, (iii) enabling consumers to effectively exercise their right to object to personal data processing, and (iv) ensuring the security and confidentiality of any data processed.

The guidelines also include recent CNIL recommendations with respect to cookies (see our previous post here) and online card payments (see our previous post here).