Feeds

Info chief shrugs off Bluetooth regulation

Blue spam free for all

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

The Information Commissioner will no longer regulate the use of Bluetooth mobile technology, prompting fears of a wave of "Bluetooth spam".

The commissioner no longer considers the wireless connection technology to be covered by the UK's privacy laws.

The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) upholds the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR), which control the sending of unsolicited marketing messages. That prohibition will now not extend to Bluetooth technology, the ICO has said in correspondence with someone who enquired about the regulations.

The ICO had not commented officially at time of publication. It is expected to update its guidance this week on the matter.

"A public electronic communications network means an electronic communications network provided wholly or mainly for the purpose of making electronic communications services available to members of the public," said the correspondence.

"Regulation 22 therefore applies to the sending of text messages or emails (which are both sent over a public electronic communications network), however, following consultation and consideration we do not believe that this definition covers Bluetooth technology.

"Our guidance will therefore be updated to reflect the fact that we do not consider Bluetooth marketing falls under the provisions of Regulation 22 (and therefore does not fall under the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations)," said the correspondence.

"It is going to be a complete free for all," said Troy Norcross, a mobile marketing consultant with New Media Edge. "I call it blue spam for a reason."

The ICO guidelines have until now insisted that users opt in to receive Bluetooth marketing in the same way that they have to with other forms of communication. That now will change.

"Until now most businesses have opted for a soft opt in, so a cinema says that by being in our building you are seeking to do business with us, so we can send you material relating to films," said Norcross. "But if they started sending you material about insurance or lawnmowers that would no longer count. It has to be related to their business."

Norcross said there were examples of uses of Bluetooth which went against the guidance already, but that they have gone largely un-noticed. "The people doing this around town or in bus shelters are doing it ostensibly against the rules, but not in enough numbers to get people really up in arms."

This, he said, was likely to change. "I think now we are going to find Bluetooth marketing suppliers grabbing on to this and going out and trying to get more people to try Bluetooth marketing."

Bluetooth is a close-range wireless communications technology present in many mobile phones. Users can avoid receiving marketing messages by switching their Bluetooth off or by setting their phones to refuse connections from strangers, but this would affect the way they can use the technology.

Copyright © 2007, OUT-LAW.com

OUT-LAW.COM is part of international law firm Pinsent Masons.

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Britain's housing crisis: What are we going to do about it?
Rent control: Better than bombs at destroying housing
Top beak: UK privacy law may be reconsidered because of social media
Rise of Twitter etc creates 'enormous challenges'
Ex US cybersecurity czar guilty in child sex abuse website case
Health and Human Services IT security chief headed online to share vile images
We need less U.S. in our WWW – Euro digital chief Steelie Neelie
EC moves to shift status quo at Internet Governance Forum
Oz biz regulator discovers shared servers in EPIC FACEPALM
'Not aware' that one IP can hold more than one Website
Apple tried to get a ban on Galaxy, judge said: NO, NO, NO
Judge Koh refuses Samsung ban for the third time
Pedals and wheel in that Google robo-car or it's off the road – Cali DMV
And insists on $5 million insurance per motor against accidents
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?