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Electronic marketing and internet use
Are there rules specifically governing unsolicited electronic marketing (spam)?
Yes. In principle, promotional emails are permitted only if the intended recipient agrees beforehand to receive such emails (Section 7 of the Act against Unfair Competition). This applies to both entrepreneurs and consumers. Exceptions are limited to narrow circumstances (see Section 7(3), 1-4 of the Act against Unfair Competition).
If the recipient has not given his or her express consent to receive promotional emails, he or she can request the sender to desist pursuant to Sections 823(1) and 1004(1) of the Civil Code. Moreover, competitors of the sender may request that the sender desist pursuant to Section 8(1) of the Act against Unfair Competition.
Further, the General Data Protection Regulation applies to the unsolicited use of email addresses as well. Email addresses that relate to an individual person are personal data, if that individual can be identified from the email address. The use of an email address to send marketing emails is a processing of personal data, which will have to be justified under Article 6 of the General Data Protection Regulation, likely, through consent.
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