Last year you couldn’t turn on a laptop or open a professional publication without being inundated with dire warnings about GDPR and the horrors that would befall you if you didn’t spend thousands on training and completely overhauling your systems.

I spent much of that time doing talks and presentations on the subject, where I was often amused by the previous advice people had been given.

One woman told me that she had been advised that it was a requirement of GDPR that they have email encryption.  Strangely enough this has been explained to her by a company that sold … encryption!!!!

A guy I know that went to a talk given at a very high profile law firm was told that they had to computerise all of their HR records to be compliant.  This was a service they could provide for a very modest £5k.

And of course many people were told that they needed consent to send out mailings to their existing database, leading many to lose their contacts, causing untold damage to their business.

I poured scorn on many of these comments, pointing to the regulations themselves which at best supported my advice and at worst showed how ambiguous the drafting was and that until there were some test cases, all we could do was make reasonable assumptions.

Some people pointed to what the ICO were saying about the regulations, and certainly if you followed their advice and they were wrong you’d have a good defence to any prosecution, but I reminded everyone that regulators and authorities don’t always get it right.  You only have to look at the number of times HMRC have taken people to court and lost to realise that law is not as straightforward as it looks.

So I was rather amused to read that following a recent case the IOC have been forced to amend their website as they had been giving people wrong information on how to calculate the time for responding to requests.  It wasn’t a typo.  The regulator had wrongly interpreted the regulations.

Which goes to show that even the people telling us what to do don’t always know what they are doing and sometimes you just need to apply a common sense approach.

Kleyman and Co Solicitors.  The full service law firm.  Helping you avoid the banana skins of business life.