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.