Ad watchdog cracks down on spam

UK firms should adhere to new Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) rules introduced last week, designed to crack down on spam, say experts.

Organisations that adopt the ASA guidelines will be better equipped to comply with new European Union led laws due to come into force later this year, which will introduce similar measures backed with stiff penalties.

The new ASA code requires firms to obtain explicit consent from consumers before using their data for marketing via email or SMS.

Companies were formerly free to use an opt-out method, where the default option is to accept advertising and where consumers must uncheck a box to avoid being subscribed to marketing lists.

The EU Privacy and Communications Directive backs up the ASA's guide in enforcing opt-in methods, and also applies to websites.

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