A year today, the new data protection law from the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) related to the Data Protection Act (DPA) applies. 25th May 2018 will see radical changes to the way we need to conform to storing data. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes in to force.

Many of the GDPR’s main concepts and principles are much the same as those in the current DPA, so if you are complying properly with the current law then most of your approach to compliance will remain valid under the GDPR and can be the starting point to build from. However, there are new elements and significant enhancements, so you will have to do some things for the first time and some things differently.

The main changes relate to the need to keep better records; more detailed and more accountable,  and in particular to consent. Whereas most data is currently collected using opt-out forms (passive consent) where someone has to, for example, uncheck a ticked box so they don’t receive information, from May next year, everyone will have to opt-in to enable data to be stored on them.

We have already seen the need for ‘double opt-in’ and this level of consent with some databases on email tools like mailchimp, but this will apply to all your data from May 2018.

It is difficult to get data on how this will affect the quantity and quality of your data, and ultimately how well regarded it is in the marketing mix, but I could find the following from fast . MAP

  • Consents to store and use data via opt-out permission will contain permissions gained by impatience and confusion. The average level of consent achieved is 63%.
  • Consents to store and use data via opt-in permission won’t.  How much will your database shrink? The average level of consent achieved is 21%.


However, with quantity down, quality is up.

  • With opt-out, of the 63% that consented 88% didn’t really intend to, 12% did – 8% of the total.
  • With opt-in, of the 21 % consenting 61% actively intended to consent, and therefore want a relationship with your organisation – 13% of the total.


You are closer to answering the holy grail of marketing attributed to Lord Leverhulme; “Half of my advertising is wasted, the trouble is, I don’t know which half.” Less waste.

You will need to test your opt-in forms and give them much more attention than a cursory gaze from the lawyers of the ‘small print’. And overhaul your existing data. You could be looking at saving distribution costs.

More information from ICO and a 12 step plan for you here.