It's not likely this bill will get passed with this provision, says Chapell, but the fact that it's on the table for discussion means the bigger topic of data practices is on Congress' radar.
Ponemon agrees, advising marketers to keep an eye on privacy laws in California, such as the recently enacted S.B. 27, also called the Shine the Light Law. This regulation forces direct marketers to document their data collection processes so they can provide, at the consumer's request, details on how personal information was obtained and/or shared.
"California is the bellwether of national privacy," says Ponemon, explaining that other states then introduce similar legislation which pretty much forces action on a federal level. In addition, it's hard for a national corporation not to comply with a state law on a national basis, since it would require creating a business blueprint just for one state.
Chapell wonders how long California can continue to dictate national law. While it's "more of a prayer than a prediction," he says he won't be surprised if Congress takes measures to strike down California's "cottage industry" of privacy law.
In the meantime, he suggests direct marketers carefully weigh the value of their different acquisition partners, making sure they have contractual provisions on where these partners get their data and that the information can be audited.
And what about customer trust? Ponemon explains that companies can reduce fear and establish trust by:
2. asking for customers' contact preferences;
3. respecting frequency limits, by understanding how multichannel marketing and different lines of business can impact contact plans; and
4. being able to explain your data collection practices and usage to customers whenever they ask.
Ultimately, marketers' greatest ally in the fight against fraudulent marketing is multichannel marketing, Ponemon proposes. By offering different business channels for contact and shopping, marketers give consumers control over how and when they interact with a firm and make buying decisions, which leads to greater trust.