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e-Privacy Research: a New Disciplinary Borderland.
Unformatted Document Text:  * 11 words, almost nine out of ten websites collecting personal data and mentioning in their privacy policy that these data will be used for direct marketing, communicate that right of opposition. We herewith repeat that in 2002 79% of the surveyed websites collecting data declare that these data will be used for direct marketing (60% in 2001). How does the consumer have the opportunity to oppose against the use of personal data for direct marketing? 43% granting a right of opposition, inform that the consumer has to contact the business by traditional post if she or he does not want to receive any direct advertising (30% in 2001). 13% in 2001 and 12% in 2002 grant the person concerned the possibility to check a box giving explicitly the permission that her or his data may be used for direct marketing (opting-in). Although the opting-in regime is not yet installed in Belgium, some companies have already adopted this kind of permission marketing. It happens sometimes that the opt-in tick-box is already checked, in other words it is suggested that the consumer wishes to be on the mailinglist, for instance, of the company. This is, in our view, not a consumer friendly opting-in giving a free option. In fact it is an opt-out, because one has to ‘uncheck’ the box to make clear that he or she does not want e-mailings. 30% in 2001 and 24% in 2002 choose the opting-out procedure, the consumers may check a box if they are opposed to the use of their data for direct marketing purposes. 21% do not give any details about how to exercise that right (26% in 2001). In a follow-up survey we will observe how the new Belgian law concerning a.o. the opting-in system will change this aspect. Only one website refers to existing Robinsonlists (also called Preference Services) for direct marketing. These Robinsonlists are nationally and internationally managed databases wherein consumers refusing to receive direct mail (then we talk about Mail Preference Service), telemarketing calls (also named Telephone Preference Service) or (in some countries) e-mailings (the e-Mail Preference Service or e-Robinson, such as http://www.e-mps.org) can insert their co- ordinates. Concretely, the consumer will receive no commercial e-mails of firms that are member of one of the umbrella organisations of direct marketing, managing this e-Mail Preference Service. If data are passed on to thirds for direct marketing purposes, then in half of the cases the right of opposition is offered (52%). We stress that only 15% (in 2001 and 2002) of the surveyed websites (collecting data) communicate expressly to pass the data to thirds. So, it consists of a small number of the visited websites. For this reason these results are given very cautiously. This right of opposition can be exercised in 35% of the cases by contacting the business by post (33% in 2001). 13% grant an opting-in (9% in 2001), 42% an opting-out through a tick box (38% in 2001). 10% does not mention any procedure (19% in 2001). Also this aspect will normaly be affected by the new Belgian law and will be studied in a next survey. In Table 1 we summerise the comparison between 2001 and 2002 concerning the basic information to be given in a privacy statement. Table 1: Information provided in the privacy statement 3.4. Additional information In 38% of the studied websites an order can be made online. Sometimes orders can be made not only in the webshops but also in certain corporate websites of

Authors: Walrave, Michel.
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*
11
words, almost nine out of ten websites collecting personal data and mentioning
in their privacy policy that these data will be used for direct marketing,
communicate that right of opposition. We herewith repeat that in 2002 79% of
the surveyed websites collecting data declare that these data will be used for
direct marketing (60% in 2001).
How does the consumer have the opportunity to oppose against the use of
personal data for direct marketing? 43% granting a right of opposition, inform
that the consumer has to contact the business by traditional post if she or he
does not want to receive any direct advertising (30% in 2001).
13% in 2001 and 12% in 2002 grant the person concerned the possibility to
check a box giving explicitly the permission that her or his data may be used for
direct marketing (opting-in). Although the opting-in regime is not yet installed in
Belgium, some companies have already adopted this kind of permission
marketing.
It happens sometimes that the opt-in tick-box is already checked, in other words
it is suggested that the consumer wishes to be on the mailinglist, for instance, of
the company. This is, in our view, not a consumer friendly opting-in giving a free
option. In fact it is an opt-out, because one has to ‘uncheck’ the box to make
clear that he or she does not want e-mailings.
30% in 2001 and 24% in 2002 choose the opting-out procedure, the consumers
may check a box if they are opposed to the use of their data for direct marketing
purposes. 21% do not give any details about how to exercise that right (26% in
2001). In a follow-up survey we will observe how the new Belgian law concerning
a.o. the opting-in system will change this aspect.
Only one website refers to existing Robinsonlists (also called Preference Services)
for direct marketing. These Robinsonlists are nationally and internationally
managed databases wherein consumers refusing to receive direct mail (then we
talk about Mail Preference Service), telemarketing calls (also named Telephone
Preference Service) or (in some countries) e-mailings (the e-Mail Preference
Service or e-Robinson, such as http://www.e-mps.org) can insert their co-
ordinates. Concretely, the consumer will receive no commercial e-mails of firms
that are member of one of the umbrella organisations of direct marketing,
managing this e-Mail Preference Service.
If data are passed on to thirds for direct marketing purposes, then in half of the
cases the right of opposition is offered (52%). We stress that only 15% (in 2001
and 2002) of the surveyed websites (collecting data) communicate expressly to
pass the data to thirds. So, it consists of a small number of the visited websites.
For this reason these results are given very cautiously. This right of opposition
can be exercised in 35% of the cases by contacting the business by post (33% in
2001). 13% grant an opting-in (9% in 2001), 42% an opting-out through a tick
box (38% in 2001). 10% does not mention any procedure (19% in 2001). Also
this aspect will normaly be affected by the new Belgian law and will be studied in
a next survey.
In Table 1 we summerise the comparison between 2001 and 2002 concerning
the basic information to be given in a privacy statement.
Table 1: Information provided in the privacy statement
3.4. Additional information
In 38% of the studied websites an order can be made online. Sometimes orders
can be made not only in the webshops but also in certain corporate websites of


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