Telemarketing: “disconcerting” provisions in the Italian Decree on competition law

Scenario
On 3 May 2017, the Italian Senate approved, in its second reading, the draft of the Italian Decree on competition law. The bill specifies a provision on telemarketing, which has been defined by the President of the Italian Data Protection Authority, Antonello Soro, as “disconcerting and alarming”. More specifically, the provision states that prior content is no longer necessary to catty out advertising phone calls whilst recipients of such phone calls may object to them only at the end of the phone call. The provision, in its current formulation, seems to promote the phenomenon of unwanted telemarketing communications.

Main issue
Section 18 of the draft adds two paragraphs to Section 130 of the Italian Personal Data Protection Code:
– Paragraph 4bis: Operators and third parties who carry out advertising phone calls to data subjects, without their prior consent, shall at the beginning of the phone call provide them with information on: a) the subject on behalf of whom they have been contacted; b) the indication that the phone call is for marketing purposes;
– Paragraph 4ter: For the promotional communications to be lawful, the recipient of the call, after having been informed as above, shall provide his consent to be contacted again-

Practical actions
The current formulation of the draft allows telemarketing operators to carry out advertising phone calls without recipients’ prior consent. It will be interesting to the how the draft will be amended in the Senate’s third reading.

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