GDPR in companies: tools for implementation

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Even after three years of GDPR, many companies are still unsure of how to use it, the digital association Bitkom found in a study. Extensive reviews and lengthy debates on alleged or actual data protection problems tie up resources that would be needed elsewhere. In the case of doubt, companies forego innovations or delay important digitization projects, as Bitkom emphasizes, because they are concerned about fines that threaten their very existence.

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For more than three quarters of companies (78 percent), the greatest challenge is persistent legal uncertainty due to the rules of the GDPR itself. 74 percent complain about too many changes or adjustments to the interpretation. Two thirds of the companies see the lack of implementation aids from supervisory authorities as one of the biggest problems, while over half (52 percent) complain about the inconsistent interpretation of the rules within the EU. For a third, a lack of qualified personnel is one of the highest hurdles. 42 percent of companies state that they have had more work since the introduction of the GDPR and will continue to do so in the future. For a further 32 percent it is foreseeable that the expenses that have already increased will continue to increase.

The problems that companies have in implementing and complying with the GDPR are also reflected in the large number of data protection violations that are reported to the supervisory authorities or that are uncovered by them during audits. The State Commissioner for Data Protection (LfD) Lower Saxony noted in its activity report that the authority received a total of 2479 complaints and 989 reports of data protection violations in 2020, both a significant increase compared to 2019.

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