January 2018 marks Data Protection Day. The purpose of this day is to raise awareness about data protection and promote best practice. You may have heard a lot about data protection reform over the last year ahead of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) being implemented across Europe on 25th
The Bailiwick of Guernsey is bringing equivalent legislation in at the same time to similarly update data protection regulation in response to unprecedented advances in technology. It requires higher compliance standards of those handling our data and provides strengthened rights for all of us.
Conversations around the GDPR have dominated the agenda - and government, business and our office are all busy preparing for the changes ahead. However, it’s exactly at times like this - when we’re all focussed on our to-do lists for May - that we reflect on the wider picture. If we understand better what these laws are designed to achieve, we can engage positively with the very real benefits for us as individuals and our economy. If you’re a business, looking after your data - an important business asset – will:
- encourage trust and confidence in your brand and people
- reduce reputational and financial risk
- require information to be organised thereby encouraging efficiency
- allow you to stand apart from less enlightened competitors
- allow you to respond to and embrace opportunities that the data economy will present
If you’re an individual, taking an interest in how your own data is used will:
- allow you more control over who has your information and what they do with it
- send a strong message to business that you care about what happens to your data
- help you understand how data that organisations hold about you may influence your life
- encourage business and government to be transparent and accountable
Data and its protection has evolved into a profoundly important aspect of all our lives, personal and professional. 2018 brings with it enormous challenges and opportunities – but the new legislation should be seen as an evolution of data protection requirements already in place rather than a revolution. For those taking the current legal duties seriously, the changes will be manageable and desirable. Ultimately, understanding and embracing the need for high standards will allow us to lead from the front. The Bailiwick has a unique opportunity to open its doors to the data economy whilst ensuring the highest standards of protections and rights for individuals.