This guest post is provided by DMA Member Kitty Kolding, President & CEO of Infocore which produces the Global Marketing Data Index (GMDI) for multiple countries.  The GMDI is based on a proprietary score algorithm that takes 54 separate inputs into account to yield a series of numeric Index scores.  Kitty highlights privacy issues in two countries with restrictive legislative changes this year.


Kitty KoldingData privacy policies are changing quickly and dramatically in some parts of the world. Canada, Australia, and several countries in Southeast Asia have recently enacted some of the most restrictive and onerous legislation ever seen – even more restrictive than the EU, which was long considered the toughest privacy regime globally.

Global marketers are keenly aware of the significant impact that these changing policies can have on their direct marketing and database enrichment initiatives. But, the complexity and pace of these changes makes compliance considerably more challenging.

Hong Kong

After a significant set of new regulations were enacted in October of 2012, two new amendments came into force on April 1, 2013. Both of the new amendments specify added restrictions against the use and provisioning of personal data in direct marketing activities. Additionally, the legislation confers new levels of authority on the Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data (“PCPD”) in Hong Kong, and calls for the PCPD to provide legal assistance to individuals making claims in civil proceedings. Stiff penalties apply when the data user does not comply with warnings and enforcement notices from the PCPD, including fines of up to HK$50,000 and imprisonment for up to 2 years. Although Hong Kong is still an “opt-out” market, there is considerable confusion in the business community due to workshops put on by the office of the PCPD stating that all data owners should operate as though the law is “opt-in”.

Hong Kong has always been a vibrant, data-rich market, but these changes have produced a significant chill to the otherwise hot business climate. A number of data collectors in the region have already gotten completely out of the business, while those that remain are scrambling to ensure compliance. High quality marketing data in the region was never inexpensive, and these changes and the decrease in the number of available data sources will continue to drive prices upward.


In Canada there are 27 federal, provincial and territorial privacy statutes that govern the protection of personal information in the private, public and health sectors. Electronic marketing is governed by both Canadian Privacy Statutes and Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (“CASL”). CASL was approved in December 15, 2010 and is currently scheduled to be in force by July 1, 2014. Under CASL it is prohibited to send, or cause or allow to be sent, a commercial electronic message unless the recipient has provided express or implied consent.

The message must also comply with specific content and unsubscribe requirements. The penalties for running afoul of this legislation are considerable, including administrative penalties of up to $1 million per violation for individuals and $10 million for corporations. CASL also gives individuals the right to bring a civil action for alleged violations of CASL and sets forth penalties of up to $200 for each infraction, up to a maximum of $1 million each day for a violation of the provisions addressing unsolicited electronic messages.

Data providers in Canada have been busily preparing for this summer’s rule change. Several major players are actively considering leaving the Canadian market, while others are doubling down and building out very strong data collection practices that keep the data well within the required limitations. There is no question that these changes will affect both the quantity of direct marketing data that is available, as well as its price, particularly after July 1st.

Infocore monitors data privacy requirements in over 100 countries around the world, and provides Compliance Review Services for clients upon request. If you’d like to talk with one of our experts on markets of interest to you, please contact us.


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