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Do You Know About PECR?

Updates to the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR) made this year mean that it is no longer a requirement for individuals to actively opt in to hear from an organisation through electronic marketing. The process has been flipped, so that consent is now assumed, unless the person actively opts out.

Why Have Changes to PECR Been Introduced?

The Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations are a 2003 EC Directive, which was updated with the Data Protection and Digital Information Bill on the 18th of July 2022. The changes to PECR were brought in to support vibrant competition and innovation which, in turn, drive economic growth. This would result from activities, such as:

  • Removing unnecessary barriers to responsible data use, without reducing the existing high data protection standards
  • Keeping pace with the rapid innovation of data-intensive technologies
  • Helping businesses use data responsibly without uncertainty or risk, in the UK and internationally
  • Making it easier for public bodies to share vital data, improving

How is PECR Different to GDPR?

PECR relates specifically to electronic marketing and has specific rules around marketing calls, emails, texts, and faxes. According to these rules, you must not send electronic mail marketing to individuals unless they have specifically consented to receive electronic mail from you. Additionally, you must not disguise or conceal your identity, and you have to provide a valid contact address so they can opt out at any time.

GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) on the other hand, relates to the processing of personal data. The two regulations are complementary, but they do have their distinctions. Also, PECR is UK specific, whilst GDPR is EU and UK wide.

What Does This Mean for Me?

If a transaction is actioned on a website, for example, a form is completed or something is purchased, individuals will now be asked to opt out of hearing from the company, instead of being asked to opt in. People must always be given the option to opt out – this is called a ‘soft opt in’.

As an individual, it is important to know how your data is being used and to know that you may be marketed to unless you opt out.

As a business, it is valuable to understand the detail in order to comply. Additionally, you may also choose to change the phrasing around your consent and may want to inform your customers of the changes.


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