The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) went from regarding Bluetooth marketing law as being covered by the Privacy & Electronic Communications Regulations to considering that such marketing was in fact not covered.
Now there may be moves by DBERR (the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform – the new, long-winded, name for the Department of Trade and Industry) to change the legal position on Bluetooth marketing. The window of opportunity for marketing by Bluetooth technology that opened in October could be closed once more. This appears to be based on a statement made by DBERR that it is considering and consulting on the issue.
“The Department wishes to work with the European Commission during the review of the Privacy and Electronic Communications Directive to find the best way to evolve the current rules.”
“We will be looking to ensure that definitions are suitable for new technological developments in communications technology. We will speak to stakeholders to gauge the size of the problem in relation to Bluetooth and will discuss, in the context of the review, any changes with them”
From the DBERR statement, it doesn’t seem likely that the “window of opportunity” will be closed any time soon. The story also quotes a representative from the European Commission who appears to regard Bluetooth marketing law as not being a current issue, and not worth legislating on at this time.
Whilst making predictions is hazardous, it appears that there are unlikely to be any moves to legislate on Bluetooth marketing at any time soon.
On a related note, Mobile Marketing Magazine reports that the Direct Marketing Association is advising its members to apply the same principles to Bluetooth marketing as marketers must by law apply when marketing using other electronic communications methods such as e-mail and text message.This is probably the best solution, and most ethical way to undertake any Bluetooth promotion. Most promotion using Bluetooth uses Blujacking – sending information via Bluetooth to a device – mobile phone, PDA or computer. BlueSnarfing – where data is taken from such devices is and remains illegal, as this is a form of trespass.
Glossary: Advertising, Astroturfing, BlueSnarfing, Bluetooth, Blujacking, Can-Spam, Cloaking, Dark Marketing, Direct Marketing, E-mail, E-mail Harvesting, E-mail Marketing, Grey Marketing, Guerrilla Marketing, Interruption Marketing, Link Baiting, Mobile Marketing, Personal Digital Assistant, Pharming, Phishing, Short Messaging Service (SMS), Siphoning, Spam, Spyware, Trojan Virus, Viral Marketing, Virus