Myth: A clause in a draft EC privacy Directive allowing personal data in the public domain to be used for direct mailing was recently deleted at the request of the applicant Scandinavian countries and may lead to political parties being banned from canvassing and sending direct mail to voters.
(The Guardian, p.l, 15.11.93)
Response: This is not the case. The proposed Directive on the Protection of Personal Data, an initiative aimed at protecting EC citizens from the sale of information about themselves, was drawn up by the European Commission following the opinion from the European Parliament last March and is still being discussed.
The European Commission has no intention of banning the practices described above, although political parties will have to conform with the general obligation to inform the persons concerned about the collection of sensitive information about themselves. Political parties are exempt from having to notify the supervisory authority about the processing of data concerning their members and persons who have regular contact with them, on condition that data is not disclosed to third parties without consent. Similarly third parties disclosing data to political parties will have to inform the persons involved beforehand and to give them the possibility of opting-out.
It should also be noted that discussions with the EFTA countries, including those in Scandanavia, have not influenced this question in any way and that, as is the case with all EC legislation, national ministers will have the last say.