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Data Protection Commission

Press Release

30 November 2007

Complaints about British Sky Broadcasting Group Marketing

Over the past number of days the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner has received a large number of complaints in relation to a letter issued by British Sky Broadcasting Group regarding marketing preferences and an apparent alteration of the terms and conditions governing the use of personal data by British Sky Broadcasting Group.  The notice is attached for information.

This unusual step is being taken in response to a notice issued by British Sky Broadcasting Group that is totally unacceptable from a data protection perspective.  If implemented as outlined in their notice, a clear breach of the Data Protection Acts in this jurisdiction would result.  The notice purports to provide a basis for the company to pass personal details among companies in the British Sky Broadcasting group and to other unnamed third party companies for direct marketing purposes, including by email and text message, unless the customer objects using a specified telephone number.

The Office of the Data Protection Commissioner has been in contact with British Sky Broadcasting Group pointing out that the letter is unacceptable and has asked the company to write to all customers in receipt of the notice in the next few days to clarify the position.  The company have informed this Office that the communication was not intended to alter customers marketing preferences.  A pre-recorded message has been placed on the company's customer service number and it is understood that an information notice for customers will shortly be placed on their website.

Data Protection Commissioner Billy Hawkes stated that "Irish Data Protection law provides strong protection to customers in terms of the use of their data for direct marketing purposes.  I am determined that people's rights in this area will be respected.  My Office will be following up with British Sky Broadcasting Group in the coming days to ensure that the rights enjoyed by Irish residents under the Data Protection Acts are fully understood and respected. "

Letter issued by BSkyB group

For more information about data protection, please go to www.dataprotection.ie