The Direct Marketing War in Washington: 4 Questions With Tony Hadley and Angel AlomaMarch 8, 2013 By Thorin McGee
1. What activities are regulators expressing the greatest concerns about?
Aloma: The "privacy" concern, pertaining to the use of data, has to be at the top of the list at this point. I put privacy in quotation marks because there is a great misunderstanding by regulators as to how the data acquired about customers and donors is used in the corporate and nonprofit sectors.
Hadley: Regulators are asking about the data collection and use practices of marketers in part because of allegations in the media, and by some in the privacy advocacy community, that consumer information is being misused to discriminate or disenfranchise consumers. Some of the media accounts have been misleading and downright scary, so it's not surprising lawmakers and regulators are concerned.
DMA and some of its members, including Experian Marketing Services, are responding to regulator's concerns by describing our practice and how marketing information is used to benefit and empower consumers. We have a good story to tell. We subscribe to best practices, industry self-regulation and myriad Federal and state laws governing the use of consumer data. Our practices are focused on building consumer trust in all marketing channels, whether online or offline. Once regulators fully understand how marketing data is organized, used and protected, they will have a more accurate picture of the marketplace, so we consider the ongoing inquiries a real opportunity to set the record straight. Thereafter, regulators can move on to other consumer protection matters.