Does the Choice Principle permit an individual to exercise choice only at the beginning of a relationship or at any time?
Generally, the purpose of the Choice Principle is to ensure that personal information is used and disclosed in ways that are consistent with the individual’s expectations and choices. Accordingly, an individual should be able to exercise “opt-out” (or choice) of having personal information used for direct marketing at any time subject to reasonable limits established by the organization, such as giving the organization time to make the opt out effective. An organization may also require sufficient information to confirm the identity of the individual requesting the “opt-out”. In the United States, individuals may be able to exercise this option through the use of a central “opt-out” program such as the Direct Marketing Association’s Mail Preference Service. Organizations that participate in the Direct Marketing Association’s Mail Preference Service should promote its availability to consumers who do not wish to receive commercial information. In any event, an individual should be given a readily available and affordable mechanism to exercise this option.
Similarly, an organization may use information for certain direct marketing purposes when it is impracticable to provide the individual with an opportunity to opt out before using the information, if the organization promptly gives the individual such opportunity at the same time (and upon request at any time) to decline (at no cost to the individual) to receive any further direct marketing communications and the organization complies with the individual’s wishes.