Hyderabad: Unwanted emails are clogging inboxes more than ever. Unlike the do not disturb (DND) service for mobile phones, where people can stop unwanted calls, there is no such service to prevent the flood of emails.
Some users are receiving emails that ask them not to unsubscribe, in view of the European Union’s GDPR (General Data Protection Rule) that gives flexibility to users to get rid of promotional emails and newsletters.
GDPR protects the user’s privacy to the extent that companies have to delete data if the customer doesn’t give consent.
It is not going to be easy for Indians to get rid of promotional emails which can cover a variety of subjects from weight loss, matrimony, hair loss, to travel, online shopping and credit cards. The user generally does not remember subscribing to the service.
A quick look at the promotions tab in gmail shows how the email id is being used by marketing agencies to promote their products. Experts opine that people get annoyed by such emails but they leave it without complaining.
“People need to understand that the email ID is as important as the phone number. If we are getting unsolicited phone calls, we try to get it sorted with customer care. It is not that the people are happy to get these emails, they are agitated but due to lack of a proper redressal mechanism, people do not know where to report”, said Mr Ranjit Raj of Sweccha Free software movement of India. He said people can reach out to the consumer forum if they feel their email ID is being wrongly shared by someone. But there are few provisions for the companies defaulting.
“There are guidelines on information leaks, but due to lack of heavy penalties which the GDPR is implementing, companies do not comply very strictly. The more mature sectors like BFSI, Telecom are ahead in the game due to their business requirements and stricter guidelines by the regulatory bodies like Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai). Most organisations outside these mature sectors are still in a preliminary stage and waiting for others to make the first move,” said Mr Huzefa Goawala, RSA Archer business leader, India & SAARC
India is in the process of drafting the data protection policy and a takeaway from GDPR is that it will restrain third parties from initiating marketing offers unless there is explicit consent.
Mr Gautam Kapoor, partner, Deloitte India, said, “A regulation like GDPR will surely bring about a paradigm shift in the way organisations in India deal with an individual’s personal data. GDPR is a boon for our own much-awaited data protection Act which has been put up for public consultation.” He said the Act, if enforced in its current avatar, will bring strong control over the way data is handled. The law also requires strong enforcement and judiciary support, without which it may not be effective....