GDPR comes into force this month

Kate O'Sullivan is MD at ADPR Kate O'Sullivan is MD at ADPR
Industry Database

The much-discussed EU General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) come into effect later this month (May 25 2018). Ideally by now you will have your ducks in a row, but don’t fret if not - there’s still time - just, writes Kate O'Sullivan.

As a reminder, GDPR states consent must be ‘freely given, specific, informed and unambiguous’ and articulated by a ‘clear affirmative action’. That means you can’t assume consent based on ‘inactivity’ or on ‘opt-out’ models.

The second key point is the right to be forgotten. This is designed to give consumers more control over how their data is collected and used, which means giving them options for both accessing and removing their data.

The third change is about how businesses process personal data. This will necessitate better housekeeping on the parts of marketers – and less collecting data for unnecessary reasons.

Big fines

All this is important, as failure to comply with GDPR will lead to big fines - either €20m or 4% of global annual turnover (whichever is greater).

We’ve noticed considerable effort is being spent by businesses trying to find ways around GDPR, most notably referencing the legitimate interest clause. We think that energy would be much better spent establishing informed, active, unambiguous consent, which in turn leads to more targeted and relevant engagement with customers.

If businesses approach GDPR in the right way, we think it is genuinely beneficial and will improve your organisation’s customer relationships. But compliance with GDPR needs to be built into a company’s culture and so transitioning to a post-GDPR world will require ongoing, iterative compliance, that goes on long past the May 25 deadline.

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