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Outsourced or out of contol?

October 2007

Rosemary Smith of permission marketing consultancy Opt-4 explores the data protection issues in
outsourcing subscription/circulation management.

The growth in the outsourcing of subscription and circulation management has been considerable over recent years but publishers need to be alive to the potential barriers that Data Protection legislation can present when undertaking an outsourcing arrangement. The devil is, most definitely, in the detail when it comes to getting these deals right.


Outsourcing, put quite simply, is the transfer of one or more of a company’s tasks or processes to an external service provider (ESP). Under contract to the company, the provider performs the tasks or processes against agreed service definitions for a specific period of time.


In some cases the ESP may be off-shore or may use offshore subcontractors taking advantage of reduced costs and the evolution of fast and efficient global communications. This means that multiple contractual relationships may need to be negotiated all of which should cover the requirement to abide by Data Protection rules.


The performance of many circulation and subscription processes will require the transfer of Personal Data and, therefore, carry significant implications for compliance with data protection legislation.

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