The data watchdog has echoed the words of Dads’ Army veteran Corporal Jones by calling for an end to panic surrounding the overhaul of EU data laws, insisting firms should use the plans to ensure they are following best practice already.
Speaking at the dataIQNow conference in London, ICO business and industry group manager Dave Evans told delegates that no one was sure when the EU Data Protection Regulation would be passed, but insisted: “Stuff is going to happen, and we should be prepared.”
He added: “Our advice is don’t panic. If you think the sky is going to fall in, you are going about it the wrong way. Companies should take this as an opportunity to look at their current practices. If you make money from data, you need to look at what you are doing now. The fundamentals of data protection are unlikely to change. Transparency will continue to be crucial.
“When someone requests that you stop using their data, then you should stop. The majority of complaints we receive at the ICO are about companies which either ignore or have no system in place to deal with consumer complaints.”
Asked about the thorny issue of consent, Evans admitted it was still too early to say whether the industry would have to move to an opt-in only model, despite reassurances from Brussels that consent for marketing data would remain unchanged.
However, one delegate told DecisionMarketing: “I simply don’t trust Viviane Reding [the EU justice commissioner and architect of the proposals]. She could quite easily get all this signed off and due to the wording then turn round and say ‘marketing must be opt-in only’.”
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