All businesses and organisations that use or hold European data will be affected by new data protection regulations being introduced by the EU.
Legal experts have issued the warning ahead of the new regulations, which are expected to become law in 2018. Four years of negotiation have led to the drafting of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), with the new data protection laws designed to reform the older, inconsistent and out-dated regulations. Once the regulations have been approved, they will become law in all EU member states.
All businesses and other entities that use or store European personal data will be affected, even if this information is stored or used outside the EU. Companies are being advised to pay attention to the new laws before they come into effect.
The new laws will mean an increase in compliance requirements, with those who do not comply facing large financial penalties of up to €20m (£15m) or four per cent of worldwide annual turnover.
Companies can be fined for ignoring the basic rules on the processing of data, including the rights of the individual. There will also be conditions for the transfer of data between countries. The fines are not as high as those originally suggested; however, they are far higher than experts expected. For companies with a large global turnover, this could mean fines of billions of dollars.
Businesses will have to put new measures in place to comply with the new regulations. While two years sounds like a long time, some companies could find this a complicated procedure.