In a blog marking the first anniversary of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham calls on firms to consider the impact that having poor data practices could have on their customers and other individuals. Ms Denham highlighted that a simple box-ticking approach would not be sufficient, saying:

“The focus for the second year of the GDPR must be beyond baseline compliance – organisations need to shift their focus to accountability with a real evidenced understanding of the risks to individuals in the way they process data and how those risks should be mitigated.”

Another warning came as she highlighted that the public are now much more aware of data protection issues. Here the Commissioner suggested that “people have woken up to the new rights the GDPR delivers”, and so firms need to be aware of the fact that consumers are now much more likely to complain if they believe that their personal data has not been handled appropriately. She revealed that her organisation has received in excess of 40,000 data protection complaints and more than 14,000 reports of personal data breaches since GDPR was introduced on May 25 last year, and then stated that Information Commissioner’s Office staff are close to completing investigations into some of these cases, and that details of relevant enforcement action would be announced shortly.

Larger companies now need to have a named Data Protection Officer (DPO), and Ms Denham urged firms’ senior management teams to support their DPO where necessary.

Ms Denham also recently addressed the G20 Side Event – International Seminar on Personal Data in Tokyo. Here she also commented on public expectations by saying that consumers needed to trust that organisations would act appropriately, by saying:

“Trust means citizens knowing how their data is being used, how they can control its use, where the data is going.”

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