What is PECR? And Reasons Why It is Important

ByAquibur Rahman


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PECR is a law in the United Kingdom that emphasizes electronic marketing channels like calls, texts, emails, cookies, etc., giving people certain rights to protect their data.

Table of contents

What is PECR?

The Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003 is a law in the United Kingdom enacted to protect data and privacy by making it illegal to send marketing communications without prior permission from the recipients.

The list of actions include emails, text, and even transmitting of automated recorded message for direct marketing purposes through calls without the prior consent of the concerned individual. PECR is also known as 'E -privacy directive.'

PECR law

Why was PECR enacted?

With the advent of technology, many apps capture customers' data that businesses take advantage of. The encroachment of businesses into the private lives of individuals with marketing mailers and text is a violation of privacy.

PECR extends the privacy laws and sets more stringent conditions on electronic communications for marketing. Also, PECR protects customers' data giving them privacy to work freely.

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What are the regulations of PECR?

PECR provides regulations regarding the access to customer details to business organizations set up in the UK and EU. And these rules also apply to businesses currently operating in the UK.

Even if a company is not based out of the UK or EU, it must abide by data protection rules set out under Article 3 of GDPR while interacting with individuals in the UK and EU.


PECR is UK-specific data protection law, while GDPR is related to European data protection law. GDPR focuses on collecting and processing personal data, while PECR sets rules. PECR is not part of GDPR, but they complement each other as organizations must follow both laws.

PECR violations

Under PECR, the information commissioner's office can issue admonishment and penalties. If the organization violates PECR, it can be counted as a criminal offense. The actions of breaking the law can cost up to £500,000.

Email marketing and PECR

There are specific rules set under PECR which express the following regulations.

  • You can't send emails without prior permission. But, you can send emails to your existing customers without consent in some specific conditions.

  • You can't hide your email address while sending marketing emails.

  • Customers must be able to unsubscribe if they do not wish to receive emails.

  • You must not support anyone sending emails that violate the law.

These same rules apply to instant messaging channels like SMS.

Here's a guide on How to Use Opt-In in Your Email Marketing Strategy to help you use opt-in to get permission from your audience before you send them emails.

PECR and cookies

PECR also sets rules for cookies as it tells customers' behavior visiting the website, like how much time they spend on a specific product. But, once this information is recorded, there are chances that there might be a misuse of the data. So it becomes necessary to have certain limits on the usage of cookies.

  • The organizations must give the right information on their website or apps on the usage of cookies, and what data they will collect and the purpose behind collecting the cookies should be clear.

  • The customer must first permit businesses to use their cookies. Only after this can organizations have access to the cookies. But, some cookies do not need user permission, like input cookies, multimedia content player cookies, authentication cookies, centric security cookies, etc.

Also read: Everything You Need to Know About Website Cookies in 2022

PECR compliance

To follow the PECR regulations, the organizations must make some changes to their website as mentioned below:

• Cleaning up your website cookies

Organizations must clean unnecessary cookies from their website, including only that data required to run the website.

• Dealing with third party suppliers

The organization needs to change the third-party suppliers if they are not ready to make necessary changes to the website.

The customer needs to know what cookies the organization uses and why they are necessary. Hence, the organization needs to give details about all the cookies they will collect, and the customer must permit them to use the cookies.

• Developing an alternative tracking option

You will have to find alternate legal tracking options for customers who do not permit cookies to get the required marketing information.

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PECR is a safeguard against privacy intrusions by businesses and lays down guidelines and regulations for UK and EU companies to follow. One of the best ways to abide by this law while carrying out email marketing is to build your email lists with prior permission.

At Mailmodo, we ensure that all emails sent are under laws and stipulations and spread awareness. So feel free to reach out to the Mailmodo team to understand how to send a clean and safe email campaign that also brings results.

What you should do next

Hey there, thanks for reading till the end. Here are 3 ways we can help you grow your business:

  1. Talk to an email expert. Need someone to take your email marketing to the next level? Mailmodo’s experts are here for you. Schedule a 30-minute email consultation. Don’t worry, it’s on the house. Book a meet here.

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  3. Get smarter with our email resources. Explore all our knowledge base here and learn about email marketing, marketing strategies, best practices, growth hacks, case studies, templates, and more. Access guides here.

What should you do next?

Thanks for reading till the end. Here are 3 ways we can help you grow your business:


Get smarter with our email resources

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