Finns probe illegal mobile marketing

Advertising or customer relations?

Finnish officials are probing illegal direct marketing via SMS, Finnish broadcaster YLE reports.

The Data Protection Ombudsman, which operates along with the Ministry of Justice, says it is looking into dozens of companies that recently sent out messages to mobile phones. One investigation includes a promotion by Pohjola. The insurance company sent over 300,000 messages to clients' phones informing them of a new service.

Direct electronic advertising without the consent of consumers is illegal in Finland. It is part of the Act on Data Protection in Electronic Communications, which came into force on 1 September 2004.

However, there is a difference of view among experts over what constitutes customer relations information and what is advertising. Service provides are allowed to use existing customer’s contact information for marketing purposes. They must, however, give customers the opportunity to object.

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