Article by: Marianne Calder, VP & MD EMEA, Puppet
The countdown to the official implementation of the GDPR is now over. It took a while to get the message of its importance across but by now most, if not all, organisations are creating policies to maintain compliance and avoid the fines looming over those who buried their heads in the sand for too long. Even more importantly, organisations are recognising that individuals value the information that’s stored about them and treating it with the respect it deserves.
While the GDPR impacts the members of the European Union the most, one of the largest ‘myths’ around the build-up to its implementation is that if you are not in the EU then it doesn’t apply to you.
Luckily, most businesses across the globe have now realised that there are a multitude of ways in which the GDPR becomes very relevant to them – working with EU businesses, trading within the EU, collecting data from EU citizens – and most importantly, if they do not comply they will still face the same penalties. The BBC has reported that US news sites including the LA Times and The Chicago Times, have temporarily blocked EU users over these new data protection rules.
With this mind, let’s take a look at what the rest of the world is saying about the GDPR.
When it comes to the US, despite the inconvenience of Europeans no longer being able to access certain news outlets, there is ongoing commitment from US organisations towards achieving compliance. One such affecting company, Tronc, reminded its readers that it was ‘engaged on the issue and committed to looking at options to adhere to the GDPR in the future.
ABC News (Australia): New GDPR privacy laws triggering data emails from Twitter, eBay and others including huge fines
ABC News, a leading news outlet in Australia, reiterated the importance of organisations now being liable for what happens to the personal data they hold. With the GDPR stated as setting ‘a new international standard for privacy’, it’s clear the impact is being felt even so far overseas. However, Australian media remains cautious about its overall efficacy, closing with the sensible advice that Internet users still need to be vigilant about what data they share and whom they share it with.
Zeit Campus (Germany): ‘We could have informed people better’
Leading German publication, Zeit Campus, has published an interview with long-standing member of the European parliament and rapporteur for the GDPR, Jan Philipp Albrecht. While Germany is a country with its own historically strict data privacy and location rules, the interview suggests that the GDPR is still causing confusion in the region. The article makes clear the need for continued, easy-to-understand and reliable information about exactly what the GDPR means and what its ongoing impact will be. Overall, Germany remains extremely positive about the GDPR’s potential, calling it ‘one of the best ways for consumers to enforce their rights.’
IT Web Africa (Africa): GDPR – SA companies ‘not off the hook’
Highly regarded African technology publication, IT Web Africa, has reported on the GDPR’s wider reach to any business across the world. Even though South Africa’s well-publicised Protection of Personal Information – POPI – is already well in place and comes with its own penalties, compliance specialist, Leilani Smit commented of South African businesses that they will have to begin to think globally when it comes to data protection.
South China Morning Post (China): GDPR is here: Mess up and we’ll fine you, warns EU Privacy Chief
Chinese news outlet, the South China Morning Post, has published an article focusing more on the consequences that will occur if businesses are not complying with these regulations – specifically referring to businesses located outside of the EU, like Facebook. The article cites the GDPR as the beginning of a new era for everyone, quoting Andrea Jelinek, EU Data Protection Chief Regulator: “If there are reasons to warn we will warn; if there are reasons to reprimand we will do that; and if we have reasons to fine, we are going to fine.”
For more than a year now, businesses across Europe have been slowly getting to grips with the uncertainty surrounding the GDPR implementation and with the official launch, it is clear that the rest of the world is taking notice. The GDPR will bring with it the beginning of new, global conversations and changes for the rights of individuals over their own data. Now that the regulation is in place, we will see the conversation quickly shift to how businesses can maintain compliance to win and retain the trust of consumers. Succeeding with this will require changes not just to policy, but in the way that data is managed within an organisation. Businesses will need to continue considering which technologies, like encryption software or process automation, are there to help.