On September 16, 2020, the Spanish Supervisory Authority (“AEPD”) approved a “Code of Conduct for Data Processing in Advertising” (“Code”) (see the decision approving the code here). This is the first GDPR approved Code of Conduct with an accredited monitoring body in the European Union. The Code enters into effect on November 17, 2020, two months after its approval.

Below we provide a brief FAQ about the Code.

What data processing activities are covered by the Code?

The Code broadly applies to any processing of personal data carried out for advertising purposes, including sending direct marketing communications and using cookies and other technologies for targeted advertising.

The Code only applies to the processing of personal data:

  • carried out in the context of the activities of members based in Spain, or
  • that affect data subjects residing in Spain, provided that the processing relates to the offering of goods or services to data subjects in Spain, or involves the monitoring of the behavior of data subjects in Spain.

Who can become a member?

Any entities active in the advertising industry can become member of the Code.

What obligations does the Code impose on its members?

The Code lays down a number of obligations for its members in relation to:

  • data protection by design and by default;
  • identifying the appropriate legal basis for the data processing;
  • informing data subjects about the processing of their personal data;
  • the data subject’s right to object to the processing of their data;
  • advertising opt-out lists, such as Robinson lists; and
  • consent for using cookies for advertising purposes.

Who is the Code’s owner?

AUTOCONTROL (Asociación para la Autorregulación de la Comunicación Comercial) is the owner of the Code. AUTOCONTROL is a non-for-profit association that acts as a self-regulatory and supervisory body for the advertising industry in Spain.

Who monitors the compliance with the Code?

The Advertising Jury (Jurado de la Publicidad) monitors the compliance with the Code.  The Advertising Jury is an independent body of AUTOCONTROL that is specialized in the field of deontological and advertising matters.

What happens in case of non-compliance?

The Code creates an out-of-court dispute resolution system for complaints from data subjects against the Code’s members.  A member can chose between (i) having the Advertising Jury decide on the complaint or (ii) start mediation before the Mediation Unit of AUTOCONTROL.

If the Advertising Jury concludes that a member breached the Code, it will decide on what GDPR sanction to apply to the member.

If a member does not comply with the mediation agreements or decisions of the Advertising Jury, as applicable, the Board of Directors of AUTOCONTROL will take disciplinary measures stipulated in their statues and inform the AEPD about these measures.

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Photo of Kristof Van Quathem Kristof Van Quathem

Kristof Van Quathem advises clients on information technology matters and policy, with a focus on data protection, cybercrime and various EU data-related initiatives, such as the Data Act, the AI Act and EHDS.

Kristof has been specializing in this area for over twenty…

Kristof Van Quathem advises clients on information technology matters and policy, with a focus on data protection, cybercrime and various EU data-related initiatives, such as the Data Act, the AI Act and EHDS.

Kristof has been specializing in this area for over twenty years and developed particular experience in the life science and information technology sectors. He counsels clients on government affairs strategies concerning EU lawmaking and their compliance with applicable regulatory frameworks, and has represented clients in non-contentious and contentious matters before data protection authorities, national courts and the Court of the Justice of the EU.

Kristof is admitted to practice in Belgium.

Photo of Anna Oberschelp de Meneses Anna Oberschelp de Meneses

Anna Sophia Oberschelp de Meneses is an associate in the Data Privacy and Cybersecurity Practice Group.  Anna is a qualified Portuguese lawyer, but is both a native Portuguese and German speaker.  Anna advises companies on European data protection law and helps clients coordinate…

Anna Sophia Oberschelp de Meneses is an associate in the Data Privacy and Cybersecurity Practice Group.  Anna is a qualified Portuguese lawyer, but is both a native Portuguese and German speaker.  Anna advises companies on European data protection law and helps clients coordinate international data protection law projects.  She has obtained a certificate for “corporate data protection officer” by the German Association for Data Protection and Data Security (“Gesellschaft für Datenschutz und Datensicherheit e.V.”). She is also Certified Information Privacy Professional Europe (CIPPE/EU) by the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP).  Anna also advises companies in the field of EU consumer law and has been closely tracking the developments in this area.  Her extensive language skills allow her to monitor developments and help clients tackle EU Data Privacy, Cybersecurity and Consumer Law issues in various EU and ROW jurisdictions.