The new EU data protection basic regulation – DSGVO for short – came into force in May. A 99-article comprehensive and controversial feat of strength, which gives business, technology and consumers a turbulent time and at the same time reveals the complexity of data use in the Internet age. In companies and especially in communication and marketing departments, the DSGVO focuses on the handling of personal data.

Ring free for more privacy

The DSGVO replaces the EU Directive 95/46/EC, which dates back to the Internet Stone Age. For companies, authorities but also other institutions such as NGO’s, the regulation regulates the processing of personal data in a new way. From a technical point of view, the regulation is based on the principles „Privacy by Design” and „Privacy by Default”. Consequently, the privacy of users should be taken into account and subsequently protected as early as the development stage of a service or product. The new regulation is also intended to strengthen the rights of consumers with regard to the use of their data by companies. The DSGVO is related to the ePrivacy Regulation, which is intended to secure data protection on terminal devices and is currently still being negotiated. In addition to the DSGVO, the Privacy Shield is another international set of rules governing the transatlantic exchange of data between the EU and the USA.

Löwe Clarence und Affe Judy von der TV-Serie Daktari

Taming the predator using the DSGVO audit

For companies, the DSGVO leads to an examination and conversion of all processes for the use of personal data in order to fulfil the comprehensive documentation and information obligations. The new regulation has a particular impact on communication and marketing activities, which are increasingly shifting to the digital domain and are making targeted use of data evaluation options for optimisation. The new regulation requires, for example, an adaptation of the corporate website and the notification of newsletter recipients. More information and transparency of the target groups regarding the use of data is also required when using social media and their marketing possibilities. All internal and external data flows are therefore under scrutiny.

Communication as trainer

The introduction of the DSGVO has unsettled many – after several data scandals, many consumers rightly felt threatened. Proactive and transparent communication with the target groups is the best way to inform them about the sense and purpose of using data and to maintain dialogue in the long term. Companies and other institutions now have the opportunity to gain additional trust among the target groups. Then the paper tiger roars – but it doesn’t bite.

Sources: / Auf der Maur, R. & Steiner, M. (2018): EU Data Protection Ordinance (DSGVO) and how it influences communication. Presentation ZPRG Zurich Public Relations Society, 17. April 2018. / Image: / public domain