Don't use CC to send a newsletter

Lots of companies have an email newsletter these days, but some of them are breaching the Data Protection Act by simply using the CC (carbon copy) field in their email software to send their newsletters.

The Data Protection Act stipulates that you must take all reasonable measures to ensure the data you hold, such as people's email addresses, are not divulged to third parties unless they have given you permission to do so.

By giving you their email address, people are assuming that you will look after it and not allow spammers to get hold of it. However, if you then send them an email, or email newsletter, using the CC field, every recipient can see every other recipient's email address. This is a clear breach of the Data Protection Act.

Now, usually, this sort of thing might not pose a problem. Most people don't even notice, and most people do not realise that having their email address distributed across multiple computers greatly increases the opportunities for spammers and viruses.

And, the Data Protection Act is probably the least enforced legislation in the UK.

But, there are some companies with large distribution lists that have received serious complaints from using the CC field.

So, what can you do? You want to send the newsletter but don't want to risk annoying any of the recipients.

Most email software also has another option, BCC (blind carbon copy). On some software this is considered an advanced option so it's not offered by default and you may need to hunt for it in the advanced options.

The BCC field does exactly the same thing as the CC field except the recipients receive the email without being able to see the other recipients' addresses.

Now, using BCC or CC to run a newsletter is a very cheap and cheerful way to do it, and it can reflect poorly on your business over using dedicated e-newsletter software, but if you really want to do it this way, then just make sure that you aren't breaching the Data Protection Act, because some subscribers may get quite annoyed with you.

This guidance also applies to all other emails that you send. If you don't have permission, explicitly or implicitly, to divulge people's email addresses, then you shouldn't use CC.

OpenGlobal can help you to run an effective mailing list and newsletter campaign, whilst adhering to the complex laws which are applicable. Contact us now to find out about running a mailing list or integrating a mailing list with your website.


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