As EU chiefs prepare to finally vote through the data reforms this week – nearly four years after they were first proposed – a new study claims that half of all marketers have still never even heard of the new regulations.
Marketers surveyed by TRUSTe, a privacy compliance platform, split down the middle as far as awareness of the measures in the UK, France, Germany, and the US.
And those who had heard about the General Data Protection Regulation – which will harmonise data laws across the 28 Member States – one factor overrides all, and that is the potential to be hit by huge fines for non-compliance.
Exact details of the final version of the GDPR are patchy at best, and even when it is passed it will be sometime before the legislation emerges. Many businesses are still fearful over issues such as the one-stop-shop for data protection, profiling and consent for marketing data, however, it is understood that other threats, including firms being forced to hire data protection officers, have been scrapped.
The TRUSTe research revealed the discrepancy between businesses who were unaware of the pending regulation and a smaller, more informed group of companies who have set aside in excess of £300,000 to address the necessary changes.
TRUSTe chief executive Chris Babel said: “While the surprise dismissal of the Safe Harbour agreement has caused uncertainty for thousands of companies, this is the tip of the iceberg compared to the sweeping and stringent changes about to be adopted by EU regulators.
“The GDPR represents the most significant global development in data protection law in the last 20 years and for many companies will require a complete restructuring of the way they currently collect, store and transfer personal data.
“Despite over four years of high profile negotiations, half of companies are still unaware and there is a worrying chasm between those who are actively preparing and those blind to the changes ahead.”
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