Mobile Phone Marketing Faces Legal Shake-Up

The Birmingham Post (England), March 11, 2003 | Go to article overview

Mobile Phone Marketing Faces Legal Shake-Up


Byline: Steve Pain

The Government is set to introduce new laws governing the use of mobile phones for marketing, claims Birmingham-based law expert Andrew Sparrow.

He believes that soon, it will be lawful to send messages to the mobiles of people who happen to be in the vicinity of say an exhibition or music concert.

But Mr Sparrow, head of Lecote Solicitors, the Birmingham-based electronic communications law firm, warns that few are aware of this latest attempt to regulate a technology which has yet to prove it has any potential for advertising and marketing.

And he fears that legal control in the absence of actual experience might be precipitate.

'The Directive on Privacy and Electronic Communications 2002 must be implemented in the UK and throughout the European Union by October 31 this year,' he said.

'The Department of Trade & Industry, which the sponsoring Department for the new law, is currently seeking consultation with interested bodies on exactly what the new rules should look like.

'However, few organisations or business groups are aware of this latest step and certainly the consumer public do not know what it will mean.

'The EU feels the continued development of mobile phones is creating a need for revised laws to meet the issues which the latest phones will present.

'Only this week the first 3G services were announced in this country which will permit the use of moving pictures on the screens of mobile equipment.

'Another advance relates to the ability to send messages to people who are in a particular environment. This might be at a large gathering such as an exhibition, or sports arena.

'The message can only be transmitted to the phone if it is within the vicinity.

'These are the so called 'Location Based Services' which many in the marketing industry believe open up new channels for promotion of goods and services.'

Setting out the legal background to theproposed new laws, Mr Sparrow added: 'The regulations which govern mobile marketing are changing almost every year. 'The original communications framework were the Telecommunications (Data Protection and Privacy) Regulations 1999 which were adopted in the UK in 2000. …

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