May 192017
 

With thanks to Esther Green, Senior Account Executive, Tricker PR.

One of the biggest shake ups of European privacy legislation which is expected to have a significant impact on the way business is done comes into force in 12 months’ time.

It’s going to have a huge impact on how businesses store and process data and carries tough penalties and hefty fines for breaches.

The Government will implement the General Data Protection Regulation and it is expected that the UK will continue to comply with GDPR after Brexit – so all businesses should be assessing how they use personal data and how this legislation will affect the sector in which they operate.

Advanced planning is key to ensuring compliance with the new legislation which comes into force from 25 May 2018, according to Austen Clark, managing director of Clark Integrated Technologies.

 “The changes that will come with the 2018 deadline will have implications for businesses of all sizes that handle the personal data of EU residents, regardless of location,” Mr Clark states.

“The GDPR is going to have a huge impact on how businesses store and process data and they need to act now to make sure they are properly prepared for this major overhaul of data protection legislation which will impact on us all. Dedicating time to this now will ensure businesses have procedures in place to be able to comply with the new regulation.

“This isn’t just for big businesses – a gym that offers a members’ loyalty scheme or a one-person chiropractor that asks patients to complete a wellbeing form will have to ensure that personal data is stored in line with the new regulations and not breach them.”

GDPR will directly apply in EU countries and replaces ageing European and national data protection legislation, with companies given until until May next year to adopt the measures and become compliant.

Influenced by technological advances, it introduces new accountability obligations, stronger rights and ongoing restrictions on international data flows. GDPR seeks to protect individuals whose personal data is handled by companies. Data processing refers to the handling, storage, evaluation, reference or general use of information relating to individuals. Businesses should only be collecting necessary data and discarding it when it is no longer required to protect data subject rights.

So an online retailer running a small e-commerce site that holds customers’ personal details is subject to GDPR regulations. And any company or individual providing marketing, IT, accountancy or business support that may have access to a wealth of client and customer data needs to ensure this is collected, stored and protected in specific ways.

One of the biggest considerations of the new regulations is ensuring sensitive data is handled correctly.

Government help to prepare for the regulation is available, with webinars, training courses and data flow audits and Mr Clark suggests a good starting point is to carry out a gap analysis of current processing in line with GDPR.

“Understand what data you hold, how you are using it, and make sure that you are practising good data hygiene by limiting access to data to only those who need it, and ensuring that authentication protocols are up-to-scratch for those users,” Mr Clark advises.

“Businesses should also consider deleting data that is no longer required so that it does not become an unnecessary risk.”

Clark IT is already working with clients to assess how GDPR will impact on them and the sector in which they operate, to guide them through the complexities of the legislation and to ensure they become fully compliant. The IT specialists can take clients through the process from start to finish using its unique portal and working with partners to cover legal, datacentre, insurance and finance matters.

While it may seem like a daunting process, GDPR should not be viewed as unnecessary red tape says Mr Clark, who predicts that the legislation has the ability to bring benefits to both businesses and individuals.

Mr Clark states:

“This creates a new single data protection act, and has scope to bring increased consistency to data protection practices, eliminating problems arising from the existence of different national variations.

“There are enhanced powers given to data protection authorities in tackling non-compliance and it will also be easier for individuals to claim against data controllers where their data privacy has been infringed.

 “GDPR will also give individuals greater control and rights over their personal data. As a result, individuals will be able to request that businesses delete their no longer necessary or accurate personal data.

“The regulation could also prove to be an advance in the war against cybercrime, given mandatory breach notifications. Taking GDPR seriously will see businesses invest in, and demonstrate, high levels of security which could in turn raise customer trust.”

Clark IT based near Turriff in Aberdeenshire is one Scotland’s leading independent providers of managed ICT solutions with a broad range of corporate and commercial clients not only in the North-east but across Scotland and beyond.

Its clients benefit from the specialist knowledge of its 26-strong workforce to support their systems and through managed IT services. Clients also benefit from Pro-active IT Support, 24/7 Monitoring, A virtual IT Manager, predictive IT costs and a strategic IT plan tailor-made for their business.

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Feb 172017
 

With thanks to Kenneth Hutchison, Parliamentary Assistant to Dr. Eilidh Whiteford.

Banff and Buchan MP Eilidh Whiteford has hit out, after a leaked UK Government document indicated that fishing is not considered a ‘high’ priority in the upcoming Brexit negotiations.

The document, reportedly leaked by a UK Government source to The Times, was circulated late last year, and indicates that fishing does not make it into a list of ‘high-priority industries’ which would benefit from firm UK negotiating positions.

This list of high-priority sectors includes banking and finance, automotive industries and textiles.

Other sectors which are set to be relegated along with fishing include chemicals, steel, oil and gas, telecoms, and medical industries.

Speaking after the document’s release, Dr Whiteford said:

“If this leaked memo is genuine, it demonstrates quite definitively that the Conservatives’ attitude to fishing has not changed since Edward Heath’s day. The industry is still very much ‘expendable’. From this document, it is quite clear that all eyes in the negotiations will be on banking and finance, and the automotive and aerospace industries.

“Fishing is, once again, being lined up as a pawn to be traded away by the Tories. I have already written to the Secretary of State, Andrea Leadsom, seeking her own comment on this document and asking for assurances that fishing will not serve as a sacrificial lamb for concessions elsewhere.”

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Feb 072017
 

Photo courtesy of Aberdeenshire SNP.

With thanks to Aberdeenshire SNP.

Fears of another sell-out of the fishing industry grew this week with the publication of the UK Government’s White Paper on leaving the EU. 

Chairman of Aberdeenshire Council’s Fisheries Working Group and Fraserburgh SNP councillor Charles Buchan said the brief mention of fishing in the White Paper, which has only 75 pages, gave him great concern that the UK Government was gearing-up to repeat the sell-out of the fishing industry first perpetrated in the 1970s.

Commenting on the development, Cllr Charles Buchan (pictured) said:

“I’m very uneasy about what has been announced in the Tory Government’s White Paper and I know that the Prime Minister’s comment last week about Spanish fishermen has made many people in the industry fearful about what may be coming down the line.

“The bottom line here is that the UK is leaving the EU and I fully support efforts to make the best possible deal from that situation as we can.  The SNP has long-argued to leave the CFP and that will be extremely beneficial to the industry – it represents a “sea of opportunity” as the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation have said.

“What we don’t want or need is for that opportunity to be traded away by the Conservative Government as it did in 1972 because it thinks it can safely use fishing as a bargaining chip in its negotiations.  The pronouncements of the last few days from Westminster make me very fearful we are about to see history repeat itself and we must stop that from happening for the sake of our coastal communities.”

A Scottish Office memo dated 9 November 1970 famously said in relation to the negotiations being conducted by the then Conservative UK Government:

in the wider UK context, they [the fishermen] must be regarded as expendable“.

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Feb 022017
 

Banffshire & Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson

With thanks to Banffshire & Buchan Coast SNP.

Fish processors in the North East of Scotland would be disproportionately hammered by reckless Tory plans to slap a £1,000 levy on EU workers in the UK following a hard Brexit.

The seafood processing sector employs thousands of EU citizens,
with the workforce largely
concentrated at individual sites in the North East. 

Immigration Minister Robert Goodwill suggested that firms could be charged £1,000 each year for every EU worker they employ.

The anti-business plans have been labelled xenophobic by former Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt who is one of the EU’s chief Brexit negotiators and even criticised by senior Tory Anna Soubry who blasted the proposals as a “tax on successful businesses”. 

Figures reveal that individual businesses could be stung particularly hard by the proposed tax. Buchan’s Macduff Shellfish, for example, has a workforce of around 500 people – with 79 per cent of them non-UK EU citizens. That would mean a £395,000 annual levy imposed by the Tory government on this single business.

Around 3,000 EU citizens work in the seafood processing sector alone – with thousands more in the wider food and drink industry. The misguided Tory attack on foreign workers would mean a multimillion pound bill imposed on businesses in the North East. 

Commenting, Banffshire & Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson (pictured) said:

“The Tories are moving further and further to the right at an alarming rate.

“Their plans to tax firms an excess based on the number of European workers they have on the books are discriminatory, deeply disturbing and potentially crippling in terms of business. 

“But sadly that comes with the territory of a hard Brexit, characterised by xenophobia and Tory politicians finally peeling back the mask to reveal a dangerous and divisive agenda. 

“In my constituency alone, firms could face charges up to half a million pounds just for having the ‘audacity’ to hire workers with the right set of skills who have chosen to make Scotland their home. Many firms would face the very real consequence of cutting jobs or even facing closure. 

“It’s incumbent upon Ruth Davidson to distance herself from these comments and to make the case to her bosses at Westminster that Scotland shouldn’t suffer as a result of a Tory hard Brexit led by the loony right-wingers in her own party. 

“Before and after the referendum last year she championed Scotland remaining in the single market. It’s time she proved she’s a politician of her word.” 

Further Info:

European and External Relations Committee – The EU referendum and its implications for Scotland – Written submission from Macduff Shellfish http://www.parliament.scot/S5_European/General%20Documents/CTEER_Macduff_Shellfish.pdf

–    “As well as being an important employer in and around Mintlaw (employing in excess of 350 people in the area, and a further 150 people across our other sites and fishing fleet)”
–    “Moreover, 79% of our employees originate from other European Member States. The European labour market is a vital resource to Macduff and our continued success will be dependent upon the future flow of European workers.”

BBC News – Minister hints at £1,000 fee for EU workers: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-38581873

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