David Woods

+44 (0)1733 887793 dvwoods@greenwoodsgrm.co.uk

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Just another four letters – PECR

Corporate and Commercial / 07 January 2019

If 2018 was the year of the GDPR, 2019 was expected to be the year of the PECR – but there is no need to panic because the planned changes are not now expected to take effect until 2020.

PECR is The Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations 2003 (and amended six times since then).  These Regulations enact in the UK an EU Directive which the EU is in the process of replacing with a new EU Regulation – the same story as with Data Protection and the GDPR.

It’s a strange time to explain EU derived legislation with 29 March looming but, in summary, a Directive requires further action from Member States to enact it in their national law (which has often led to inconsistent implementation) while a Regulation is directly applicable without the need for any further national action.  The proposed new law is framed as a Regulation – in the same way as we saw with the GDPR – replacing a Directive.

The UK is likely to adopt changes along the lines that will be covered by the “e-privacy Regulation” notwithstanding Brexit.

The current PECR sits alongside the GDPR and governs, among other things, the use of cookies on websites and the use of electronic means – phone, texts, emails and faxes – for marketing purposes.  The Regulations impose the requirement for consent in both those scenarios.

We are all familiar with the pop-ups on websites about cookies – one of the proposed changes is around how they operate.  For marketing by those electronic means, even if consent is not required under the GDPR, it is required under the PECR – so to that extent good old fashioned printed mail has an advantage.

We will bring you more news on the proposed changes as the year goes by.

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