Issue: Full Impact
of Directive on Directory Industry Unclear
Union (EU) data-protection directives are of critical importance to the
directory community, and the reason is fairly straightforward. Data (i.e.,
directory listings) are the underlying enabler for all information services
offerings. Whether delivered through a directory publisher's print, online
and voice products, or through live operators, the availability of directory
listings is potentially at risk given new, stricter EU regulations.
In July 2002, the
European Commission and European Parliament implemented a data-protection
directive that could have negative implications for the directory industry.
The directive, EU 2002/58, states that directory database compilers be
required to make subscribers "opt in," as opposed to the opt-out format
currently used in most markets.
While the directive
has an impact on all 15 European Union member states, it also affects
any company outside the EU wanting to work with EU data. This is due to
already established data-protection laws that require outsiders to comply
with "adequate" standards. Fortunately, the language of the directive
is such that there is leeway in the interpretation by the 15 member states.
With compliance of the directive requested by October 31, 2003, next year
will be an important one for the directory industry to monitor each country's