Impending changes to be aware of, relating to your responsibilities as a Data Controller

If you’re a regular reader of the Jones Harris news page, you’ll have read a number of articles which we’ve published about online security and scams. While looking after your own data is vital for everyone who uses the internet, looking after any data which you collect and store about your customers is also a responsibility which as business owners we should all take seriously.

The Data Protection Act 1998 controls how as a business you can store and use personal information provided by your customers and follows a set of ‘data protection principles’.

If your business or organisation does collect and process personal information, The Act requires you to register with the Information Commissioners Office (ICO), unless you are exempt. Basic registration is quite simple, with a basic yearly fee, and there is stronger legal protection for more sensitive information like health, religion and criminal records.

There are other changes afoot in the General Data Protection Regulations, expected to be phased in from May 2018, which you should be aware of. These will align British businesses in compliance with the same data protection laws as Europe – whether we are in the EU or not.

Some of the changes are aimed at the sophisticated online profiling used by marketing companies, such as is seen with the internet giants of social media and e-commerce.

However, perhaps the most important aspect of the changes, and one which will affect all businesses, relates to how companies must respond to data security breaches, with significant fines if business don’t respond within a specified 72 hour time slot.

That makes this impending change one that all business owners should be aware of – and most importantly prepared for, since it can also create responsibility for named individuals within your business.

Find out more

You can find out more about Data Protection from the gov.uk website here

Agreement on EU Data Protection Reform

We hope that this article is helpful and if you do require any further guidance on the subject please don’t hesitate to get in touch and we will put you in touch with one of our many business contacts who will be able to give you further detailed guidance.

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