- Companies pay more attention to data protection
- Three-quarters see data protection as the biggest hurdle for the use of new technologies
The basic EU data protection regulation has been in force for almost a year. Companies and organisations have extended information duties, have to create processing directories for personal data and already take data protection into account in production processes. From the point of view of the digital association Bitkom, the GDPR has had positive effects, but there is still a great need for improvement. "On the plus side, for the first time there are EU-wide uniform data protection rules. With the GDPR, the EU has also created an international beam effect. Global corporations as well as important trading partners are orienting themselves towards this," says Bitkom President Achim Berg. There are deficits above all in the practical interpretation and enforcement of the rules. "Member states, data protection authorities and companies - they all interpret the regulation differently," says Berg.
From Bitkom's point of view, there is still great legal uncertainty in the application of the regulation. "The main problem for business is that the GDPR makes no distinction between a global corporation and a neighbourhood craftsman. In fact, large suppliers benefit even more from the uniform legal framework than small and medium-sized enterprises, where the administrative burden has a greater impact," says Berg. Everyday business processes would thus become a data protection hurdle for many.
Overall, the basic data protection regulation has changed the economy sustainably. Berg: "The awareness for data protection is higher on all sides. That is positive. Nevertheless, in the context of the pending review, politicians must say where bureaucracy will be cut and ambiguities in the text removed. At the same time, data protection authorities should seek dialogue with companies even more intensively and provide them with everyday assistance." In practice, according to Bitkom, many companies feel increasingly thwarted by data protection rules. Three out of four companies (74 percent) see data protection requirements as the biggest hurdle in the use of new technologies. In the previous year, only about two thirds (63 percent) said this, in 2017 not even one half (45 percent). This is the result of a representative Bitkom business survey. "Data protection rules should not lead to companies falling behind technologically," says Berg. "The ultimate goal is to find the right balance between data protection on the one hand and innovative, data-based applications on the other".
Methodological note: The data is based on a survey conducted by Bitkom Research on behalf of Bitkom. 606 companies with 20 or more employees were surveyed by telephone. The survey is representative of the economy as a whole.