Data protection was a key talking point in the business community last year, following the introduction of the General Data Protection Act Regulation (GDPR) in the EU.
This refers to a legal framework that replaced the longstanding Data Protection Act, and one which lays out the guidelines for the collection and processing of personal information from consumers.
This initially caused some compliance issues, whilst it has also made it unreasonably difficult for stakeholders to source information in some instances. This highlights how the concept of data protection that can impact on businesses, across a number of different industries and marketplaces.
Does Data Protection Affect all Businesses?
In general terms, all business-owners are impacted by the concept of GDPR and data protection, as this applies to any commercial venture that seeks to sell, share or store personal information pertaining to EU and UK citizens.
Whilst there are some exemptions to this law, these are generally considered on a case-by-case basis rather than being governed by precise legislation.
More specifically, authorities will consider the extent to which the relevant data protection requirements are likely to prejudice a company’s key commercial objectives.
Similarly, requests will be considered in instances where data protection guidelines impair or actively prevent businesses from operating successfully, so long as the individual rights of consumers are not overly compromised.
As you can imagine, contesting GDPR compliance can be a complex and time-consuming entity, and in this respect you may require guidance from a risk consultant expert such as Clifford Chance. Otherwise, you may find it hard to process your request and justify your case successfully.
What Do I Need to Comply with the GDPR?
Interestingly, the UK will no longer need to comply with the terms of the GDPR when it leaves the EU. This remains some way off at the moment, however, so for now British firms will need to invest time and money in achieving compliance.
With this in mind, you’ll need to tick off a number of requirements to guarantee your compliance going forward. You first need to understand your core GDPR responsibilities, for example, whilst also collating the data that you hold and refining your own consent policy.
It’s also imperative that you dispose of old information in a safe and efficient manner, whilst taking the time to train your employees on data handling and making your customer’s privacy a leading priority.
Ticking these boxes is crucial, as the sanctions for failing to comply with the GDPR are significant. In fact, there are two tiers of administration fine, with the smallest equating to a maximum fine of £10 million (or 2% of annual global turnover if this is greater).
At the other end of the spectrum, you may be fined a hefty £20 million or 4% of the global turnover if applicable, and there are few companies that can afford to carry such a burden in the current economic climate.
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