When the GDPR was implemented in 2018 it caused a lot of disruption – and plenty of outrage. Since the UK has left the EU, the government has indicated that it intends to rethink data regulations and privacy laws in the UK, producing a new version for businesses to work from that will combine the best bits of the 2018 Data Protection Act and the GDPR. Many trade bodies believe that these changes could be beneficial to advertisers.

What could a new data protection regime look like?

The government has made it clear that the intention behind any changes is not to carry out a complete overhaul of the GDPR but to look for a way to reconcile the regulation with former British data protection rules. As a result, the basic principles that govern data processing, consumer data rights and the structures that are used for enforcement and supervision are all likely to remain in place. The changes are being implemented because of the ‘disproportionate burdens’ that the GDPR introduced for many businesses, especially SMEs and the government’s desire to create a framework that is less one size fits all and more designed to allow businesses to respond depending on their circumstances.

Where are the changes likely to be beneficial?

    • ‘Legitimate interest’ is going to be an area where the government will be seeking to establish greater clarity. Legitimate interest can be a basis for the use of data and marketing, rather than explicit consent. However, because there has been a lot of ambiguity around this many organisations chose consent by default as the easier way to proceed. According to the Data & Marketing Association this isn’t necessarily the best way to collect and use data so removing the confusion over legitimate interest so that this is also an option could give businesses a better way forward.


    • Cookies are another area where potential changes could be positive. At the moment all cookies get treated the same, even if they have different purposes (e.g. tracking, analytics, measurement). The government’s new approach could take a different view of cookies that are for analytics and measurement and free them from some of the restrictions that have been placed on tracking cookies. The initial consultations have been described as “reassuring” by advertising insiders who would like to see more flexibility – while maintaining consumer protection – where cookies are concerned.


  • Penalties for problematic behaviours. The government’s next move could also be incredibly beneficial in helping to re-establish trust between the public and advertisers. Over the years there have clearly been issues with nuisance calls, text messages and emails and many legitimate marketing messages now get ignored by a sceptical public. Government proposals to introduce greater fines and penalties for those who engage in these kinds of nuisance behaviours could help to draw a clearer line between legitimate advertisers and those simply seeking a quick buck.

Although the changes to the GDPR have not yet been clarified there is the potential for the new regime to be beneficial to advertisers in many ways. Find out how Iconic Digital can help you with your email marketing automation strategy to ensure it is compliant, get in touch today and call us on 020 7100 0726.