Does 'Can Spam' Travel?
By Nick Martin
Companies that do business around the globe tend to focus most on the legislative framework of their home countries, and embed local best practice and laws into company policy.
The trouble with this approach is that underlying law differs markedly from one region to another. When organizations then try to apply rules from one region to another, unforeseen consequences occur that prevent them from performing to their potential. A set of fixed concepts applied uniformly will inhibit the effectiveness of direct marketing in other regions.
Thinking global, but acting local is key to gaining and retaining the trust of your prospective customers around the world. In this article, we'll look at the respective thinking behind European and U.S. electronic legislation and review which pieces of each approach can help you create company policies for global implementation.
Underlying the differences in approach between Can Spam and European Data Privacy legislation are two very different approaches to law-making on either side of the Atlantic. In Europe, Brussels passes privacy directives and regulations that represent minimum standards that each member state must pass into law. It is for each member state to interpret broad principles in a way that fits in with their societal and political values. The scope of legislation tends to be rather broad so that e-mail regulations are part of a wider regulation on all forms of electronic communication.
It's no surprise that countries that once suffered under the yoke of totalitarian regimes have chosen to interpret European Union (EU) legislation rather more literally and restrictively than countries with a strongly democratic history such as the United Kingdom. The breadth of each piece of legislation and relative lack of specifically mandated prescriptive steps means there is huge scope for widely differing local implementations across the European Economic Area.