Television crime drama is frustrating for anybody in email marketing who has control of personal data as the myth that it cannot be shared is reinforced time and again as the police investigator comes up against the block of, ‘I can’t share that with you because of data protection.’ I sometimes feel the obligation to tutt loudly enough to cause a corrective look from my wife. You and I know the GDPR, specifically part three of the Data Protection Act 2018, allows the police and other ‘competent authorities’ to ask organisations and businesses for information to help them investigate, prevent, detect or prosecute a crime.
The police should know that they can only ask for personal data relevant to the investigation, and they will explain the reason behind the request. You’re not at risk of a penalty if you share personal data from your email marketing list.
The information as to who can access personal data is available online and it’s a shame the scriptwriters are not familiar with Google. We frequently see the grizzled detective threaten the data controller. It’s all so unnecessary and enough to make anyone engaged in email marketing to tutt loudly, even if they are not alone.
There is another myth, one that is shared by many companies, and that is the GDPR stops us from sharing personal data with other companies. It is a reasonable generalisation to suggest that if you could share data under previous data protection regs, then you can probably do so under the GDPR. But remember those three magic words: securely, fairly, proportionately. And remember you must be able to justify those adjectives.
Should you be confused about the grounds for sharing your data with other organisations, the ICO comes to your rescue with helpful guides. They publish a data sharing code of practice, see https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/data-sharing-a-code-of-practice/ which includes a simple and straightforward checklist, see https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/data-sharing-a-code-of-practice/annex-a-data-sharing-checklist/
The problem with myths circulating in the world of email marketing is that there is often a grain of truth in them. However, it’s easy enough to find the limitations to data sharing, and they are not so limiting.