Dealing with unsolicited direct marketing
Many people do not object to receiving unsolicited mail of an advertising or promotional nature through the post. In fact, you may find when you are registering or applying for some services in Ireland that you are asked would you like to receive promotional mail regarding products or services. For some people however, such mail is "junk mail"; a nuisance that they wish to avoid. The Data Protection Act, 1988 contains a special provision to ensure people who do not wish to receive direct marketing literature - either through the post, over the phone or over the internet - should have their privacy respected. Mail addressed to "the householder", "occupant" or similar is not covered by the Act, however, as it is unlikely to be using personal data.
Mailing Preference Service
The Irish Direct Marketing Association (IDMA), the representative body for direct marketers in Ireland, operates a "Mailing Preference Service". Contact the IDMA to ask for your details to be removed from the marketing databases of the main direct marketers in Ireland and you should receive fewer unwanted mailings. You can fill in the Mail Preference Service application form online or download it from their website.
The IDMA has also instituted a Code of Practice on Data Protection, setting out the data protection rules that IDMA members must adhere to.
The right to have your name removed from a direct marketing database
Under section 2(7) of the Data Protection Act, you have the right to have your details removed from a direct marketing database. To do this, you should write to the organisation keeping the database and ask it to remove your details. The organisation must comply with your request and write back to you within 40 days, confirming that your request has been complied with.
If the direct marketing organisation keeps your details for direct marketing purposes, and also for some other purpose, then it must stop using the details for direct marketing. However, in this case, the organisation may continue to keep and use your details for other purpose, provided of course that there is no breach of data protection law involved. The organisation must inform you about the other purposes it is keeping your details for.
Where To Apply
A guide to dealing with unsolicited direct marketing is available on the website of the Data Protection Commissioner. Further information regarding the Data Protection Act 1988, and your rights are available directly from the Data Protection Commissioner as follows: