From insular US firms to spammy marketers: Who will GDPR hit the hardest?
Data Privacy and Security

From insular US firms to spammy marketers: Who will GDPR hit the hardest?

The EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into effect at the end of last year and will be enforced from 25th May 2018. This stipulates that EU citizens’ data must comply with regulations – or negligent organisations can be fined up to to €20 million ($23 million) or 4% of their global revenue (whichever is greater).

The basic principles state EU citizens now have to provide ‘explicit consent’ for companies to store their data, they have a ‘right to be forgotten’ and organisations have an obligation to show where this data is stored. Businesses must also report a breach within 72 hours of it happening – which is no mean feat when the majority still do not know when these have taken place.

In essence this law makes any business that deals with European citizens’ data, fully and unequivocally accountable, with severe cash penalties. Most EU regulations are pretty light, fluffy and advisory but this one is quite categorical. Yet as it is new there are still a few grey areas surrounding how exactly it might work in practice.

Panic has begun to set in and over the last year the studies have begun coming in thick and fast about how unprepared businesses are – like this one by Symantec [PDF]. Yet hype headlines aside it is clear there is a growing awareness about the regulation within Europe even if the same is not true of international organisations headquartered in the US and Asia. It is also clear that while all businesses are likely to be impacted one way or another some industries will take a greater hit than others.

So, to get some clear feedback from in amongst the white noise on the subject I popped out four general questions to 25 different experts in the field. Below is a very short summary of their aggregated answers across each of the questions. While some of the more interesting verbatim comments – organised by question – can be found listed though the bulk of the report.

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Kathryn Cave

Editor at IDG Connect

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