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Concerns raised over data protection update

09 August 2017

Industry organisations have raised a number of concerns over the proposed overhaul of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) announced in Parliament earlier this week.

Warnings have been issued by the Forum of Private Business (FPB), the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) and by individual companies.

The majority of concerns were voiced over the potential difficulties faced by SME businesses.

This has seen the FPB call for the government to form a working group to consider the impact of the legislation on small businesses.

It lists concerns including issues such as lack of resource, with only larger companies able to devote the necessary level of attention to consider the implications of the updated legislation, further compounded by inadequate guidance from the Information Commissioner's Offices for small businesses.

There has also been inadequate attention paid to how small businesses manage personal data, says the FPB, and many will struggle to obtain the necessary levels of consent to comply with the new rules.

FSB national chairman Mike Cherry said that although the announcement on 7 August "provides a bit more information", there continues to be a general lack of awareness of the changes among smaller companies.

"We need to see a commitment from the government and the Information Commissioner's Office to provide support and guidance for the 5.5m-strong small businesses community in good time," he said.

Research conducted by Shred-It within its State of the Industry Report shows that 84% of small business owners and 43% of senior executives in large organisations are unaware of the GDPR changes.

It also showed a lack of monitoring of the frequency at which employees remove confidential information from the office by 55% of small businesses and 31% of those in the C-Suite sector.

A further 41% of small businesses said they believed the government's commitment to information security required improvement, an increase of 8% on the 2016 result.

The GDPR is due to come into force in May 2018.

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