Wednesday, 14 September 2011

No longer at ease with data protection

Yesterday the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) together with the Chilean National Chamber of Commerce (CNC) held a seminar to launch the eighth (updated) code for business and marketing practices. The code is intended as a mere guide for companies around the world and is not mandatory.

The focus in this new code is: online marketing and the use of certain terms that imply environmental friendly for advertising. Certainly both matters pursue to protect consumers.

Regarding the collection of information online, the code stresses that the page must include a clear note of how the information is collected, what type of data is kept and the use it will be given. It also expresses the view that explicit consent of users to use such information must be received and it is forbidden to create online mechanisms to engage with children under the age of 12.

On the topic of environment friendly “it is recommended to ensure that the statements and visual treatments do not misinform, overestimate or exploit consumers' concerns about the environment. It is also advised to avoid phrases such as ‘green’, ‘sustainable’ or ‘carbon friendly’ if there is no scientific validation that proves the benefits that the company advertises.”

There is no legislation in Chile which regulates advertising practices. However, there is a organisation called Self-Regulation and Ethics Council (CONAR), that brings together major agencies and advertisers and whose decisions are binding. Hopefully in the near future we will see Chile passing a bill regarding Data Protection – this new revolution of IT asserts that data held on individuals are no more kept in cabinets. Indeed, technological developments allow the collection and store of the user’s personal data – yes I am talking about ‘cookies’ (not the one that you have with your coffee or tea). Personal data has become more widespread with internet and perhaps we have become more careful with this but yet this does not stop us using it. Thus, the code is welcome.

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