Feeds

Info chief shrugs off Bluetooth regulation

Blue spam free for all

Maximizing your infrastructure through virtualization

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.

Application security programs and practises

More from The Register

next story
UK government officially adopts Open Document Format
Microsoft insurgency fails, earns snarky remark from UK digital services head
Major problems beset UK ISP filth filters: But it's OK, nobody uses them
It's almost as though pr0n was actually rather popular
HP, Microsoft prove it again: Big Business doesn't create jobs
SMEs get lip service - what they need is dinner at the Club
ITC: Seagate and LSI can infringe Realtek patents because Realtek isn't in the US
Land of the (get off scot) free, when it's a foreign owner
MPs wave through Blighty's 'EMERGENCY' surveillance laws
Only 49 politcos voted against DRIP bill
Help yourself to anyone's photos FOR FREE, suggests UK.gov
Copyright law reforms will keep m'learned friends busy
EU's top data cops to meet Google, Microsoft et al over 'right to be forgotten'
Plan to hammer out 'coherent' guidelines. Good luck chaps!
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
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.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.