Late last week we celebrated 5 entire years of RE : GDPR. The traditional gift for the 5th wedding anniversary is wood- not very interesting or glamorous I’ll agree but this is something many people say about GDPR so it seems quite fitting!! Trees are beautiful living beings, with a life history and room to grow – a lot like businesses really, especially mine and the ones I have the pleasure of working with. It doesn’t seem like 5 years ago that to the majority of people, GDPR was just an acronym being bandied about by techies as something that might affect the odd website sometime in the future, but here we are 5 years down the line and we are all aware of GDPR and how it affects us. Like a tree, it’s grown into something & will continue growing. I wanted to blog some of my thoughts on GDPR and look back at the last 5 years & share these insights.
Empowering Individuals: When I started Re:GDPR a lot of my daily work was educating people about what it is, what it means & the ins and outs of the policies a businesses needed – I started out and I did feel a bit like I was causing additional work for people! 5 years on I, like others, now realise how empowering GDPR can be. It has emphasised the importance of consent & what information we as individuals want to give away about ourselves. There is a very analytical and data focused part of GDPR but behind that there are real people & real life situations.
Heightened Data Privacy: GDPR has highlighted the significance of data privacy and while some would complain that it has made a bit of a job for larger corporations really what it has done is woken us all up to the responsibility they have It has made us realise that safeguarding personal information is crucial in preventing unauthorised access, breaches, and potential harm to individuals. It has pushed many companies forward and helped them to tidy up their online presence and performance which has led to the growth of many businesses which is brilliant! As companies have had to come up with new ways to protect data it has created new roles and new jobs – something Ive seen first hand while training people to take on responsibilities in the work place as data controllers and protection officers.
More Transparency : Over the last 5 years one huge shift I have seen is that organisations have to be more open about their data practices, informing individuals about how their information is being used, who has access to it, and for what purposes. I really feel that we are stepping away from the ‘old ways’ of doing business where these organisations existed with a back office and heaps of files to a more modern and organised way of working with focus on information. This is especially evident when you look at the running of schools, clubs and events with regards to social media – the majority have all really tightened up and now have no fear in displaying or asking for permissions to capture information like email addresses and photos while being transparent over its uses.
Accountability and Compliance: GDPR has underscored the importance of accountability and compliance with data protection regulations and also how we treat personal information. It has made organisation’s responsible for handling data in a lawful and ethical manner, holding them accountable for any breaches or misuse as we’ve seen recently with fines here in Ireland & will be cropping up in the news more and more in the coming years.
Im celebrating this 5th anniversary with some exciting projects kicking off over the summer, some lovely day trips & network events and by being grateful for the wonderful clients and people I have worked with thus far. Here’s to the next 5 years!