GDPR marks the start of a new era for the digital economy, says Hogan Lovells

LONDON – Coming into effect on 25 May, the  GDPR  has the potential  to  revolutionise  how we treat one of the most valuable assets of our digital age: data. 

Businesses operating in Europe or targeting European customers will be subject to the new regime from next week, and a wide-ranging set of rules will apply to the use and exploitation of personal information.

"To say that the GDPR will change the existing data protection framework is an understatement. With just over a week left to go, it is crucial that we all understand its huge significance for businesses and individuals, said Eduardo Ustaran, co-director of Hogan Lovells' privacy and cybersecurity group.

"The GDPR is mainly about using data responsibly and appreciating that its protection is a fundamental right. This is not in conflict with the digital economy. Success in this new era that is about to start will come from the acknowledgement that treating personal information responsibly is in everyone’s interests. Those who commit to this principle will see the GDPR as an opportunity and reap the true benefits of data.”

Stefan Martin, employment law partner at Hogan Lovells, added: "GDPR will shine a light on the processing of employee data by businesses and will require all employers to examine the employee data that they process and the legal basis for doing this.  GDPR is also likely to result in a big uptick in the number of data subject access requests made by employees and employers will need to ensure that they are geared up to comply and truly benefit from new technologies."  

GDPR will also have broader cross-sector implications, for example for consumer products.

Valerie Kenyon, Global Products Law partner, said: "The GDPR will have a considerable impact in the products world.  Manufacturers of smart technology devices such as wearable tech, for example, will need to understand their responsibilities both as a producer under the Product Liability Directive and as a data controller under the GDPR, which might overlap. Add to that developments in the context of class actions in the EU (including the recent proposed Directive on representative actions), and there's a lot for companies to be keeping an eye on.

"This presents an ideal opportunity for businesses to take stock of their risk management strategies to enable them to continue to innovate with confidence. There are also new considerations in the interrelationship between data protection and product safety.  In our role as advisors, we need to be nimble and imaginative to help clients stay ahead."

To help companies not yet ready to fulfil their obligations, Hogan Lovells is launching its EU Privacy Toolkit ahead of the GDPR deadline.

The digital tool combines the insight of our industry-leading lawyers with interactive technology, to give businesses all they need to become compliant.

The firm also has a free mobile app, GDPRnow, offering users resources and practical steps to comply with the new framework.

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