Unless you’ve been living under a rock, GDPR is now in effect as of 25th May 2018. I want to discuss the impact of GDPR, with regards to the Maltese Political Propaganda. This new law brings up a lot of changes and rights to the end user – the below is a summary which should be easily understandable without any jargon.
Politicians CAN send you personalized letters through postal services
Politicians do have the right to obtain your home address through three main channels: Electoral Register, Online Directory and Printed Directory. Though, these letters must have clear instructions on how one can easily opt out of these personalized letters and they must provide a method to do so, such as a mailing address, email or contact number.
Politicians CAN call you on your telephone / mobiles
Politicians do have the right to obtain your telephone / mobile again through three main channels: Electoral Register, Online Directory and Printed Directory. Though, the caller must respect the fact that you can ask them to hang up and remove your personal details so that they do not contact you again. One can also opt out of the directories in order to hide their telephone / mobile number, through their phone operator.
Politicians CAN contact you on election day to encourage you to go out and vote
Politicians can contact you using different mediums, which may be obtained from the following: Online Directory, Printed Directory public Social Media information or any publicly made information that the end user has made public himself. Of course, you can ask whoever is contact you to stop any communications and immediately delete your personal information.
Politicians CANNOT send you e-mails UNLESS you have given them an explicit consent and your email directly
In order for a politician to obtain your e-mail address, you must give it to them. This is typically done through direct political channels, such as propaganda websites. Also, these channels must provide an easy way to opt out of these emails, such as a unsubscribe link, which is clearly labelled and visible appopriatelty. The unsubscribe link must be send with each and every email.
Politicians CANNOT send you SMSs UNLESS you have given them an explicit consent and your phone number directly
In order for a politician to obtain your phone number, you must give it to them, exactly like the previous case with e-mails. With each SMS that the subscribed user receives, the sender must provide a contact number or email with each and every SMS sent, which the receiver can use in order to opt out of such SMSs.
3rd Party contractors which may send Propaganda SMSs (such as Go / Vodafone) MUST ensure that the politican has obtained the proper consent of the end user
If the politician does not provide clear and legitamate proof of consent to the 3rd Party contractor, the contractor must refuse to send propaganda SMSs to end users.
Liking / Following a politicians’ account on Social Media means that you’re giving him consent in order to obtain your PUBLIC Social Media information, such as e-mail or phone number.
Any information that you publicly post on Social Media can be accessed and used for political propaganda, by simply liking / following a page / account.
Some additional information:
- You ALWAYS have the right to opt-out of any propaganda messages, whether’s it’s postal, email, SMS or any other means, even if it’s something that has not been invented yet.
- Consent is ALWAYS needed for electronical communications, whether it’s email, or some futuristic electronic holographic message, consent is ALWAYS needed.
- Personalized letters can be sent through any means, be it postal services, or some fancy pigeon delivery. Keep in mind that you can always opt out of these letters, but by default, you’re in.
- If you’re tired of receving door-to-door political propaganda, you can stick a “no junk mail” message with your letterbox, and they must respect this fact.
- Politicians CANNOT charge you money to opt you out of any communication
Note that I’ve omitted some less important information in this article, such as dealing with Automated Calling Machines. All this information has been obtained from the Office of the Information and Data Protection Commissioner. If you feel that your rights have been violated, you can submit a report here.
Note by all means this article is not a legal advice, merely a guideline on your rights.