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Leading brands and a number of niche providers have come on board including businesses offering online dating solely on mobile divides though new Apps.
The ODA is keen to grow further in order to maximise the coverage of the Code and the protections it offers and to strengthen our voice with Government and others.
This can create uncertainties, vulnerabilities as people hopefully move into those new friendships and relationships.
The feeling within the sector in the last few years was that it was time we took some collective responsibility for our market and our users as well as exercising responsibility as individual service providers.
Industry Voice Alongside our work on standards we have a role speaking for the industry and in briefing our members on key legislative and other developments that affect them and their users.
We have spoken with the Information Commissioner’s Office about how personal data should be stored and saved and on ways in which we can properly share information about those who might be trying to scam, harm or offend other users.
Industry and Consumer Guidance Alongside the Code we have produced a first set of guidance for the public on how to enjoy services safely and what to do in the event of difficulties.
We will continue to review, update and actively promote our guidance in partnerships.
But laws and regulations have to deal with the generality of industries and businesses to which they apply and our statutory regulators are often thinly stretched and not able to do much other than react to consumer harms.
We, like other sectors, saw the need to give regulations “life” and to draw out, highlight and give meaning to those that particularly matter for online daters.
Membership was opened in December 2013 to all online dating service providers in the product categories covered by ODA (See “Scope of ODA Membership” below).
And membership is open to entities based anywhere in the world if they are offering services to UK users.