The Privacy Commission recently updated its recommendation n°4/2009 on direct marketing with a new recommendation (n°02/2013), in order to align its views with recent changes in the legal landscape.

The new recommendation for instance now clearly refers to the use of cookies in a direct marketing context, stating that the explicit consent of the recipient must be obtained prior to sending (certain) cookies to that person. Furthermore, it is explicitly mentioned that when sending direct marketing while using personal data (e.g. name, telephone number, email address, etc.) for such purpose, not only the provisions of the Belgian Data Protection Act of 8 December 1992 must be complied with, but also the E-Commerce Act of 11 March 2003 and Act on Market Practices and Consumer Protection of 6 April 2010 must be respected.

In its recommendation n°02/2013, the Privacy Commission further highlights some of the initiatives taken by the Belgian Direct Marketing Association (BDMA), a platform gathering, promoting and defending the interests of over 450 companies active in direct marketing (users, consultants, media and service providers).

The most remarkable initiative is the replacement of the so-called ‘Robinson list’ with the ‘Do-not-call-me-anymore list’ (“Bel-me-niet-meer lijst”), which was launched in August last year. The initiative provides consumers with the possibility to subscribe to a list – for a period of two years – in the event they do no longer want to be contacted for direct marketing purposes. This implies that, where a direct marketing campaign is organized, the list with customers/prospects to be contacted must be compared with the Do-not-call-me-anymore list so as to ensure there is no concordance. Important to note is that compliance with the initiative is mandatory for any company sending direct marketing – whereas compliance with the Robinson list was only required for members of the BDMA. Where direct marketing campaigns are carried out in violation of the above, sanctions may be imposed by – inter alia – the Federal Public Service Economics. It should be noted that the list does not apply where marketing is sent in a B-2-B context, nor when direct marketing is sent by fax or delivered door-to-door.

Should you have any further questions regarding to the above, please contact Patrick Van Eecke (  or Julie De Bruyn (