Keep data safe

Farming | Published:

Data protection laws are due to change in May this year. How do the changes affect me as a farmer?

Christopher Piggott of mfg Solicitors

Christopher Piggott of mfg Solicitors replies: The current data protection laws were introduced in the late 1990s and since then – with massive leaps forward in the internet and the advent of social media platforms – a lot has changed. We are sharing information more freely and more frequently than ever before and, as a result, the law is being updated.

The update comes in the form of the General Data Protection Regulation, known widely as GDPR, which comes into effect in only a matter of months on May 25, 2018.

One of the biggest changes GDPR will bring in is the requirement to obtain explicit consent to process data, such as names and addresses. From May 25 consent can no longer be inferred. You need to review your data handling and storing processes thoroughly.

The fines are heavy – up to two per cent of your annual turnover if you don’t keep your internal records in order. It’s twice that if you breach consent or other GDPR principles.

It will be your responsibility to make sure your workers are aware of GDPR and that you’re keeping data available for an audit, recording where it has come from and who it is shared with. After May, they will have the right to ask.

Locking data away in cabinets and making sure you have records of all data processing activities is a must – as is appointing someone who knows about data protection as your data protection officer.

The basic message is get ready now, take professional advice, and when the new rules come into effect, you won’t notice the change. Fail to prepare and the costs for rural businesses here in Shropshire could be very high indeed.

Farmers or landowners interested in finding out more on the new GDPR rules can call Chris on or call 01952 641651.


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