With negotiations on the proposed ePrivacy Regulation currently taking place, a new proposal regarding outbound telephone calls has come to light. Patrick Gibbels – our policy correspondent in Brussels – explains what this will mean for nonprofits if it goes ahead.
In previous editions of Fundraising Europe, I have written about upcoming changes in EU Privacy legislation that could negatively impact nonprofit organisations and fundraisers. One of these is the ePrivacy Regulation, which will replace the existing ePrivacy Directive and is currently under negotiation.
The ePrivacy Directive is a piece of EU legislation closely connected to the GDPR but zoning in even more on what data may be harvested. And the new ePrivacy Regulation focuses specifically on outreach by telephone. The proposed Article 16, which covers unsolicited and direct marketing communications, states that any ‘natural or legal person’ using electronic communications services for the purposes of placing direct marketing calls shall either present a calling line identification (caller ID) on which they can be contacted or present a specific code or prefix identifying the fact that the call is a marketing call. The proposal furthermore outlines that the same applies to calls made by nonprofit organisations to support their purposes.
However, an added danger lies in the recent negotiations between the European Parliament and the Council, with a new proposal to replace the option of a calling line or a prefix with a mandatory prefix. Whilst NGOs and charities are in favour of the identification of their calling lines, a mandatory prefix would generate the false impression that their calls are for commercial or marketing activities instead of fundraising for activities in the general interest.
The work of nonprofit organisations, such as charities and NGOs, is essential for the EU. Their assistance during the COVID-19 crisis proved a crucial key to helping overcome economic and social problems. They support vulnerable people; they help protect the environment and safeguard human rights. Many of them are now at the forefront, raising funds and helping the people of Ukraine.
Particularly at a time when other forms of fundraising continue to be under pressure, blindly grouping NGOs and charities in with direct marketing organisations, whilst sticking them with a mandatory prefix could severely impact their important work. In a letter to the decision-makers, EFA has therefore called on the EU institutions involved in the negotiations to take this adverse impact into account and to stick to the text that was proposed by the European Commission, and agreed by the European Parliament.
EFA will continue to closely monitor the developments regarding this file.
About Patrick Gibbels
Patrick is EFA’s public affairs columnist in Brussels.
He is the director of Gibbels Public Affairs.
Follow Patrick @GPA_Brussels.
Read more from Patrick in our View from Brussels column here.
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