Information Commissioner's Office launches awareness campaign ahead of GDPR introduction

The Information Commissioner's Office is targeting small businesses with an awareness-boosting campaign around General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

ICO campaign: Driving awareness among small businesses of new GDPR data law
ICO campaign: Driving awareness among small businesses of new GDPR data law

'Making data protection your business' kicked off this week with a series of radio ads, which will run until the end of this month, targeting those businesses unaware of the upcoming legislation.

Activity is aimed at micro-businesses — companies that employ fewer than 10 people — among which there is a "sizeable number" unaware of GDPR and what it means for them.

Robert Parker, the ICO's head of comms, said the organisation is planning to use social media to build awareness among micro-businesses and drive traffic to the ICO website. It is also working closely with various trade bodies on PR.

The ICO website carries campaign images, such as a photo of an elderly lady and the copy: "Joan's family trust you with her care. Make sure they can trust you with her data."

The site also features resources such as FAQs, a guide to GDPR and a 60-second YouTube video giving small business owners "eight practical steps" to get ready for the new law.

The ICO is working closely with the Federation of Small Businesses and other organisations. Parker said: "One of the key messages is that the ICO is the regulator and can provide companies with information on GDPR. Many organisations are providing bespoke advice for their industry sectors as well."

The ICO is responsible for regulating GDPR, which comes into effect on 25 May and replaces the Data Protection Act. The new law is designed to give people more control over how their data is used, shared and stored by businesses, ensuring that companies are more accountable and transparent.

For businesses, that means getting to grips with compliance.

"Data protection has been around for a long time and lots of businesses already manage it," Parker said. "This is raising the bar and offering customers higher standards of transparency."

He added that the ICO would continue to research and monitor awareness levels closer to the legislation going live in May.

Elizabeth Denham, the information commissioner, said: "I’m sure the women and men running micro-businesses in the UK will want to be ready when the new law comes into force, but they may not know where to start, and that is what the new tools and information on our website can help with.

"It’s also worth noting that many sector and industry groups and associations are offering help to micro-businesses about the GDPR and can be a good starting point for industry-specific advice."

Last year, Gerry Hopkinson, co-founder of Unity, wrote in PRWeek warning that public sector organisations in particular needed to be prepared for GDPR.


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