BUSINESS MONDAY - data warning
CHAD Blackman, a Senior Partner and International Trade Advisor, wants Barbados and other Caribbean countries to become aware of new European Union regulations on data protection. He has warned that any breaches of these rules would be costly to this region.
Blackman, who is also a Trade Advisor attached to the St. Lucia-based Global Partners International, walked Business Monday through the new regulations known as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which serves as a combination of all data protection laws in the European Union.
Prior to the introduction of the GDPR, EU states had their own data protection laws.
One of the things that has been made clear, he said, is that the citizens of the EU must enjoy the protection of their data not just in Europe, but also outside of the continent.
“So what that means for a country like Barbados and others in the region, is that governments, businesses, and entitles who store or access private data of EU citizens must now be in conformity with this regulation,” he explained.
Invariably, that would be relevant for the hotel sector, car rental firms and all those doing business with Europeans.
“We are here dealing with data relating to emails, persons’ ID cards, passport information, drivers’ licences, credit cards, bank details, medical records, computer IP addresses and so on.”
Blackman said that such information has to be stored in a particular way that is compliant with the regulations.
“So because of that, persons and businesses here have to take particular observation of this regulation. Because if you go into a breach of these things the consequences for your business is vast,” Blackman warned.
He said that the penalties are based on a two-tier system. The first – which is the highest – says that if there is a breach the company/government or any of the entities doing business with Europe, can be fined four per cent of their gross annual turnover during the last year. It could also be 20 million euros, or whichever is more between the two.
This means that a company whose annual turnover last year was about one million dollars, stands to lose $40 000 if the four per cent penalty is applicable to that turnover.
Even then that amount might be more, taking into consideration an amount greater than four per cent could be levied.
“So if your company is not making that amount you have an idea of what the penalty can be. It could cripple businesses,” Blackman said.
The international trade advisor stated that he is not sure whether countries in the region are aware of these new measures, but other countries notably the USA, and some in Asia are alerting their businesses about the new rules and how to become compliant.
“If the recent EU blacklisting was a category one hurricane, then this is a category five,” Blackman lamented.