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Data Protection Authorities and their Awareness-raising Duties under the GDPR: The Case for Engaging Umbrella Organisations to Disseminate Guidance for Small and Medium-size Enterprises

open-access


Leanne Cochrane, Lina Jasmontaite-Zaniewicz, David Barnard-Wills

DOI https://doi.org/10.21552/edpl/2020/3/6

Keywords: Awareness Raising, Compliance, Data Protection Authorities, Deterrence, Enforcement Strategies, General Data Protection Regulation


In this paper we explore EU data protection authorities’ (DPAs) role as leaders and educators, particularly in relation to awareness-raising efforts with Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs). The GDPR made awareness raising duties of DPAs explicit whilst SMEs face challenges complying with data protection law. We posit that DPAS should make better strategic use of collaboration with SME Associations as intermediaries to better access and understand the needs of SMEs. This collaboration could facilitate dissemination of guidance and information addressed to SMEs. It could also help to overcome concerns expressed by SME representatives about the existing guidance provided by DPAs as being overly generic, focused on legal theory, and in some states arriving too late for implementation. We suggest that by working together SME Associations and DPAs could increase their own working efficiency as well as the one of SMEs. We build our arguments on the findings of an online survey of 52-60 SMEs representatives and semi-structured qualitative interviews with 18 DPAs, 22 SME Association representatives and 11 SME representatives.
Keywords: Awareness Raising, Compliance, Data Protection Authorities, Deterrence, Enforcement Strategies, General Data Protection Regulation

Leanne Cochrane, Senior Research Analyst at Trilateral Research Ltd and Associate Lecturer at the Open University, Faculty of Business and Law, <leanne.cochrane@trilateralresearch.com>. Lina Jasmontaite-Zaniewicz, Legal researcher at the Faculty of Law and Criminology of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), the Research Group Law, Science, Technology and Society (LSTS), <lina.jasmontaite@vub.be>. David Barnard-Wills, Senior Research Manager, Trilateral Research Ltd, <david.barnard-wills@trilateralresearch.com>.

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