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GDPR Takes Effect in May. Are You Ready?

March 07, 2018

Question: What do HMS Pinafore, Goofy, and the GDPR all have in common?

Answer: They all made their debut on May 25.

Gilbert & Sullivan’s HMS Pinafore premiered in London on May 25, 1878.  

Goofy first appeared, in “Mickey’s Revue,” on May 25, 1932.

And on May 25 of this year, the General Data Protective Regulation takes effect.

If you’re not familiar with HMS Pinafore (and I wasn’t), it’s an opera. You probably know (and, not to be elitist, but I did too) that Goofy is a Disney (News - Alert) character. And, in case you’re not aware, the GDPR is a new European Union requirement.

And if GDPR is news to you, take comfort in the fact that you’re not alone. Although it was announced two years ago, a MediaPro survey suggests more than half of U.S. employees have never heard of GDPR.

So what, you may be thinking; that’s a Europe thing. What does that have to do with me? Why talk about this? Can’t we discuss Goofy – or even opera – instead?

Well, although European Parliament enacted GDPR, it applies to any organization anywhere that collects and/or processes data from EU residents. So, it may well apply to your business too.

The goal of GDPR is to standardize data protection regulations across the EU. Thomson Reuters (News - Alert) says “GDPR is arguably the biggest overhaul of data protection rules in two decades.” And it says penalties for non-compliance will be severe.

That’s why multinational corporations based in the U.S. have spent millions of dollars and thousands of hours working to comply with GDPR, says Melissa A. Dials of Fisher Phillips. She adds that GDPR compliance is more than just an IT concern. It’s something everybody in an organization needs to help address. That’s why companies need to train their people on how to handle personal data in a way that aligns with GDPR requirements, she explains.

For more information about GDPR compliance, check out Melissa’s blog here and the new European Commission data protection website here.

Edited by Mandi Nowitz