The EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into effect on 25 May. It will necessitate change in business practices across all sectors, including public relations professionals working in consultancies and in-house. Importantly for PRII members, ‘data processing’, a focus of GDPR, includes mailing lists of journalists and other stakeholders. Under the GDPR, there is no distinction between business and consumer personal data – it’s all the same.
While companies have been looking into the implications for their internal divisions, the PRII has been examining the implications for communications with journalists and other stakeholders. In February we held a very well-attended briefing for PRII members given by Louise O’Brien, Associate Director, KPMG and President of the Data Management Association in Ireland. Following that, we created a special information resource on GDPR in the Members Only area of the PRII website. We also began discussions with the NUJ on issues of mutual interest and will report back later this.
Today, we are adding to our resources for members by uploading a booklet: ‘GDPR Information for PR Professionals’, compiled by the PRII, which assists members with tips and suggestions as to what to do to prepare for GDPR. Our booklet is available on the Members Only area: Resources: GDPR - here. This PRII Information Note is specifically focused on activities associated with media and stakeholder relations (media releases, media lists, event invitations etc).
Like every other organisation, the Institute itself needs to be GDPR compliant, so Members can expect to see small changes in how we do things, but nothing dramatic. We will, for example, continue to provide members with this e-zine and a new Sourcebook is due in Jan. 2019.
Those who worked through the transition from 1999-2000 will remember the wild and fearful stories of ‘Millennium bugs’ and business disruption and we know that there are some stoking fear around the GDPR to generate business for themselves.
The GDPR emphasises transparency, security and accountability by data controllers and processors, to strengthen the right of citizens to data privacy. I think we can agree we can all benefit from that.
Dr Martina Byrne, CEO