Ignorance is no defence in the eyes of the law

With a “fanfare” on the BBC news yesterday morning, the UK Government has announced it will bring forward the UK’s own legislation covering data protection. There’s little or no news in this announcement! Although the raised profile the announcement gives to the subject of Data Protection is to be welcomed. Hence many industry commentators jumping on the back of the Government’s announcement endorsing it.

In reality however, EU Regulation in the form of GDPR, which will automatically become law in the member states, will come into effect next May. The UK Government’s announcement yesterday will merely seek to ensure the UK maintains parity with its European neighbours after Brexit.

Having been asked to speak at various events held by the banking, financial services and property industries of late, it is clear that awareness of GDPR is patchy. Be under no illusion, for some businesses there will be a lot to do before May next year and leaving implementation until April 2018 will invariably be too late, leaving organisations open to the risk of non-compliance with the new regulations and the possibility of significant fines.

Alan Soady of the Federation of Small Businesses, interviewed yesterday on the BBC news, regarding the Government’s announcement, feared that many of the FSB’s members could inadvertently fall foul of the changing regulations. So back to the title of this piece, ignorance is no defence. If your organisation stores or communicates personal data, whether that is information about customers or employees you need to prepare for GDPR and the sooner you do so, hopefully the less painful the process will be. And if GDPR is all “double Dutch” to you? Then please get in touch and we will be happy to point you in the right direction.

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