Its 20 years since the original Data Protection Act became law in the UK and my goodness how the world has changed in those intervening years! Computers in every home, smartphones in every hand, including those of babes just out of nappies. And social media bursting at the seams with data of every type, from unsavoury to down-right revolting.

Add to this the huge number of breaches, errors and gaffes made by all and sundry when it comes to the security and good handling of other peoples’ information and it was well overdue for a rethink on Data Protection. Looking around at the large swathes of commercial organisations and public bodies that have not been particularly interested in good data management and have demonstrated woeful practices in the past, it was a really high time that things were tightened up.

So along comes GDPR General Data Protection Regulations. This new regulation is absolutely what we need, and it constitutes a wake-up call to those businesses, agencies and bodies that up until now have given scant regard to the proper use and security of the information they hold about you and me.

If we ask why have GDPR at all? The answer is simple… It protects our human rights. Take a look at the very first statement in Recital 1

GDPR Recital 1

“The protection of natural persons in relation to the processing of personal data is a fundamental right. Article 8(1) of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union (the ‘Charter’) and Article 16(1) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) provide that everyone has the right to the protection of personal data concerning him or her.“

Delivering on our right to protection of our private, family life and correspondence is fundamental to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. GDPR is telling us that now is the time to get serious about Data Protection. The Information Revolution has happened and the Data Protection Act simply doesn’t have the teeth to deal with 21st Century information use. So look upon GDPR as just the start of our efforts to police and finally start to wrest some powers over a beast that has already started to spiral out of control.

Sara Jobling is a Director of Go Compli