With just over six weeks to go before GDPR comes into force the Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham has said that the regulator’s hotline is receiving over 2,500 calls a week, equivalent to 500 calls a day as companies bombard the regulator for advice.
The GDPR hotline, which went live on November 1, has already come under fire for leaving callers on hold for up to half an hour as they attempt to get through to the service. One MP even questioned whether firms should expect better from a telephone line that is funded by the taxpayer.
The main issue is that the ICO’s existing public helpline already handles around 190,000 calls last year.
Speaking at the Data Protection Practitioner’s Conference 2018, Denham said that following the Facebook data scandal – which she described as a “game changer” in data protection, “suddenly everyone is paying attention. The media, the public, parliament, the whole darn planet it seems”.
She added: “The GDPR is a work in progress for us as I am sure it is for many of you – but we’re making sure we respond to what we hear you need.
“That’s why we launched targeted resources for small and medium sized businesses including a dedicated helpline that’s taking 2,500 calls a week.”
She went on the flag up the suite of resources on the ICO website, including interactive toolkits, handy checklists and sector-specific FAQs based on real queries received by the regulator’s customer contact team.
Denham added: “We want you to feel prepared, equipped and excited about the GDPR. I know many, many of you do. For those that still feel there is work to be done – and there are many of those too – I want to reassure you that there is no deadline.
“In fact, it’s important that we all understand there is no deadline. 25 May is not the end. It is the beginning. This is a long haul journey. But it’s not a holiday. There’s a lot of work to be done along the way. It’s your job to make sure you keep your foot on the gas. Your preparations, your work – your important work – must continue beyond the 25th. Perhaps that’s when the real journey begins. So buckle up people, it’s going to be an “interesting” ride!
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