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Wednesday 20.03.2019 | Name days: Made, Irbe
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Most businesses in Latvia still not ready for data protection regulation

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUThe majority of businesses in Latvia are still not ready for EU General Data Protection Regulation, which is due to come to force on 25 May, says KPMG lawyer and certified data protection specialist Sanita Pētersone.

«We had two years to prepare for the regulations. Now it is clear that many hope to do everything at the last moment,» said Pētersone.

As the main reason for poor readiness for the regulation’s introduction she mentioned that both businesses and residents are equally lacking in knowledge when it comes to the regulation. The state could have done more to improve residents’ understanding of new rules. On top of that, many expected a specific law to be developed in Latvia, even though the regulation works directly without additional legislative acts.

Pētersone also reminds that the regulation allows supervisors to visit any business and institution and request proof of compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation even if there were no complaints about data theft.

The fine for improper use of data will also increase. «Penalties are motivating. The maximum penalty for improper data processing at the moment reached EUR 14,000. From 25 May onward penalties will be much larger. The maximum penalty will be EUR 20 million or 4% of the company’s previous annual turnover in the world. When applying the penalty, experts will calculate which is larger. Those are considerable penalties, and will help motivate companies be more serious about data protection,» says Pētersone.

The main requirement businesses and institutions have to meet before 25 May, according to Pētersone, is sufficiently informing private persons about the regulation. When entrusting their personal information to third parties, it is important for them to be provided with information as to who will be processing their information and how, so that the person is aware of the possible consequences.

«Another critical matter the regulation covers is use of outsourced services. For example, companies often store data on servers owned by third parties. This means other companies have a way to access databases. Liquidation of documents is also often outsourced. Marketing companies often perform advertisement campaigns on behalf of other companies. They do this by acquiring their clients’ contact information. In all of those cases companies hand over data about employees or clients to third party companies. The regulation will prohibit handing over data to outsourced service providers,» says KPMG expert.

Pētersone allowed that Latvia may experience a lot of problems with regulation’s introduction, because so far data protection has been viewed only from security aspect.

«I think problems could appear with properly formulated client’s approval. Keeping data subjects informed may be a problem. The regulation also increases the volume of information to be provided to the data subject. At the same time, this information needs to be provided in simple and comprehensible manner. It is a major challenge to understand the way information should be combined,» adds Pētersone.

KPMG lawyer also notes that the General Data Protection regulation will mostly apply to businesses with a lot of clients and large databases. Data protection is an important matter for businesses and institutions that process especially sensitive data – information about a person’s health, financial state and children. State and municipal institutions with access to large volumes of data will have to monitor compliance with the regulation.

It will also be necessary to think about justified reasons for personal data requests. It is also important to remember that data is acquired through video footage and photos.


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