31/05/2018

GDPR Calls for Cooperation

The EU’s General Data Protection Regulation, GDPR, entered into force on 25 May with the goal of unifying data protection legislation across Europe. It also requires that transparency and the power of the individual be increased in data processing. In Finland, the GDPR doesn’t radically change the basic pillars of data protection legislation, but rather is in line with the Finnish regulations that have been applied for the past 30 years.

Public debate about the new regulation has focused on a few individual questions, and administrative sanctions have taken on an oversized role in the debate. I personally wish that, instead of fixating on fines, the upper management of organisations would stop to think about how to secure data-based business operations in the event the authorities prohibit the use of data or order the deletion of data. Another important thing to ponder would be what the careless processing of data could mean to the reputation of a company. This latter issue is a subject that has gotten a great deal of media attention recently. There is more at play than the bogeyman of huge fines.

My hope is that the GDPR gets professionals from different fields to work together better and that this becomes on new export for the EU. We’ll know if my hopes come true in 2020 when the Commission is set to examine the practical impacts of the new regulations.

It is important for us lawyers to understand the logic underlying data systems as well as business needs and strategy if we are to come up with sustainable solutions for our clients. IT experts in turn need to understand the main principles of the law so that they can make sure that data systems and services comply with regulations.

Corporate management for its part needs to understand the opportunities offered by technology and the requirements of the law in order to make their businesses more innovative and profitable. Let’s make the most of this change!

A wise person once said, ‘Dear past, thank you for the lessons; dear future, we are ready’. We are ready at Castrén & Snellman—I hope you are, too!