Email newsletter contacts and data protection.

  HighTower 14:16 04 Mar 09

I have a customer who is merging their business with another larger group. My customer has their own database of contacts that we've been harvesting from their website for the last few years. There are around 10,000 in there at the moment.

If these subscribers originally signed up to receive information from my customer is it therefore a breach of data protection to merge those addresses to the main groups database?

The customer in question is a hotel, once privately run but now managed by a group.

Thanks all.

  HighTower 12:47 05 Mar 09

I've spoken to a legal expert at the FSB and he reckons that sending out an email newsletter from the new group to the existing subscribers of the previously independent hotel should be fine.

This is on the provision that in the email the reason that they are being contacted is made quite clear and linked to the original act of signing up. An opportunity should always be given for them to unsubscribe should they wish, but this has been standard practice anyway.

For example, the group could tell subscribers that they are being sent the email as they originally signed up to the 'hotel A' mailing list and 'hotel A' is now a member of 'group B'. This makes a link between the email and the original act of signing up. What the subscriber does now is up to them.

Just sending email newsletters to these subscribers without carrying out this intermediate step is probably in breach.

fourm member:
The FSB guy reckoned that if there had been a clause like you quoted above then you are fine. If there wasn't (which there wasn't!) then this alternative is the way to go. So, although you don't claim to be an expert you were pretty close to the mark with your response!

  Forum Editor 00:19 06 Mar 09

to share personal data with other companies in a business group, and as long as it's mentioned in the privacy policy terms there's no problem.

What mustn't happen without a person's prior consent is the sharing of data with a company that is based outside the jurisdiction of the UK courts.

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