GDPR: Tips for the US, from the EU
In this #SMWNYC panel, reps from 10 British tech companies joined together to discuss how they prepared for and adapted to GDPR in 2018, and how they continue to navigate the privacy landscape in 2019.
The enforcement of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was a huge focus throughout most of 2018, but it has also been responsible for influencing a massive wave of privacy updates and regulations across the globe.
During #SMWNYC, the Department of International Trade hosted a panel of speakers from several companies — all headquartered in the EU and range in size from 10 person start-ups to several hundred people organization — who came together to discuss how they prepared for and adapted to GDPR in 2018, and how they continue to navigate the privacy landscape in 2019.
Dan Garraway, Co-Founder of WIREWAX shared a quote from Forrester’s principal analyst, who said, “zero party data is data a customer intentionally and proactively shares with your brand. When marketers use inferred data to customize communications, there’s a very real chance they’ll get it wrong.”
As a piece of legislation, with potential large fines and even imprisonment, the fear of ‘getting it wrong’ was indeed felt by all.
The impact of GDPR on business
Ian Jentgen from eLearning software provider Circus Street not only highlighted how GDPR has impacted on the content their business can share but the internal requirements. Circus Street hired a new information security manager, underwent staff training to ensure everyone had the knowledge to deal with client personal data, and also performance data. Knowing how to deal with a data breach, if it ever happened, is also imperative. Liam Corrigan from REDPILL also confirmed the importance of involving all staff members.
Jerome Maas from The Flash Pack described the feeling of panic GDPR instilled and how much time and effort went in to understand the details. As a business, they redesigned their products and added new protocols around collecting, processing and managing data.
Xenia Muntean from Planable also highlighted the need to engage additional resource to implement the requirements of GDPR.
We need to be ahead of the curve when it comes to data. “Regulation will never keep up with technology and innovation.” — Ian Jentgen
Maas was not the only panelist to highlight the need to remove risk as well as the opt-in requirements within GDPR. A positive side to GDPR, Jimmy Robinson from PingPong Digital underscored how opt-in offers a better understanding from an audience who actually wants to hear from you. Jentgen noted the need to be ahead of the curve when it comes to all things data, “regulation will never keep up with technology and innovation.”
Kelly Forshaw from immersive technology company Laduma talked about the importance of trust and the need to work together with clients to understand GDPR and the areas of responsibility it entails. On the subject of trust, Garraway believes that although consumers are more aware of the data they are now sharing, they are still interacting with digital technologies.
Finding the right balance
Sparkol’s Zoe Taylor reminded us that there are many interpretations of the 6 principles behind GDPR and how applying best judgment is the key to finding the right balance for your business.
Gerard Keeley shared how his company, Vidsy, positively embraced privacy and anonymity to deliver greater creativity for clients. By removing data about the creators from their platform, clients began to focus on asking questions about the creative itself and choose creative they wouldn’t usually choose. Data removed any unconscious bias and allowed focus on objectives, messaging and best practice.
Ger O’Meara, CEO & Co-Founder at Spirable was also positive – “personalization hasn’t gone away, but quality is increasing’, he suggested. We can still create great content that’s personalized and targeted if we create a value exchange as part of the opt-in.
Beware the education gap
There is a massive education gap around data, suggested Maas. “It has been a minefield and will continue to be.”
So, what key points can EU companies share with the US?
- Seek legal advice, and other external support
- Be transparent with clients, to build trust
- Understand what data you really need to collect
- Know the roles of the data processor and data controller
- Train all members of staff within your organization
- Integrate the 6 principles into everything you do
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