On December 20th one of our customers posted a question in the Marketo online community about the EU privacy directive. I watched our customers and partners share their answers, but personally I was left with even more questions. What was it? Did it affect me? What needed to change? I spent hours trying to understand everything that was happening, and piece together how these changes would impact my marketing, the marketing of our customers, and even how it would change how companies like Google and Omniture did business abroad. I gave up on searching for answers and instead put together a big list of questions for Marketo’s deliverability and privacy director. His answers were awesome, helping me understand what was going on and what changes I needed to make.
I learned from him that new legislation called the European e-Privacy directive legally mandates that EU countries must make decisions about privacy in their countries which may include laws that require websites tracking users with cookies to collect explicit consent from the person being tracked before they are tracked.
The key to compliance is obtaining explicit consent. This means choosing specific language on how you are marketing and tracking. Explicit consent also means that there must also be some kind of affirmative action (e.g. clicking) where the subscribers acknowledges their consent to marketing and tracking. A good example of this is where a subscriber provides consent by clicking which causes a pop-up box specifying what you will do with the subscriber’s personal data.
Options for Obtaining Consent
There will be many ways for organizations to comply. These may include:
- Placing a pop-up window or widget asking for permission when someone first visits the website
- Placing a pop-up window or widget AFTER a few pages of viewing content
- Placing a pop-up window or widget when accessing a feature like a video or web service
- Placing forms asking for consent
- Adding clear information and a consent action to Terms & Conditions pages of web services
- Popping the question on Settings or Subscriber Options pages
- Using headers or footers on webpages that are highlighted or which turn to scrolling text asking for permission
- No longer using cookies
To help answer additional questions about this topic we created an intereactive white paper called How New EU Privacy Laws Will Change Your Marketing, which examines how the new EU mandate will impact companies marketing to European website visitors.