The road to privacy: How GDPR is transforming business practices

The road to privacy: How GDPR is transforming business practices

Barry Cook, Privacy & Group Data Protection Officer of Visa Facilitation Services, comments on the progress of GDPR in transforming businesses, and its impact in the UAE and Saudi Arabia.

  • The EU GDPR is designed to harmonise personal data protection laws across the EU member countries
  • It addresses issues of transparency around personal data usage by companies and gives more control to the individual over their personal data
  • With high penalties in place, there is a huge financial risk for companies in case of non-compliance

Author: Barry Cook, Privacy & Group Data Protection Officer, VFS Global

Our journey towards making visa processing more agile and efficient is very much about the ongoing digital transformation that is impacting all industries. This positive development, among other things, cannot be realistically achieved without relying on the collection and processing of data to create knowledge, competencies and capabilities. This collection and processing requires a governance oversight to ensure that it’s not used to the detriment of the individual. To this end we have seen an upsurge in data protection legislation in the last few years.

In fact, properly regulated and controlled data protection practices do not have to jeopardise the digitisation of our industry; on the contrary they enhance it by maintaining trust and credibility with customers, partners, employees, shareholders and other stakeholders. In short, good data protection practices have a positive effect on the bottom line.

The EU GDPR, General Data Protection Regulation, is an EU regulation (2016/679), designed to harmonise personal data protection laws across the EU member countries, it entered into force May 25, 2018. It addresses issues of transparency around personal data usage by companies and gives more control to the individual over their personal data. This far reaching regulation marks a new stage in the development of data privacy practices in Europe.

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