Final Thoughts – PrivSec London 2020

Final Thoughts – PrivSec London 2020

At the PrivSec London conference on the 4th and 5th February, we enjoyed hearing how leading professionals in our field are tackling the many shared challenges of doing business under the changing needs of the 2020s.

Here are some final thoughts from the event’s keynote speaker, Baroness Neville-Rolfe, and from ourselves…


Baroness Neville-Rolfe (Member, European Union Committee, and a former minister under David Cameron, who was heavily involved in negotiating GDPR) said that data is the “oil equivalent” of an extraordinary digital revolution.

This revolution is now affecting almost everything on the planet. The effects are impossible to predict, but like other revolutions, this one started slowly and is now picking up speed.

There were some interesting official statements made by government, EU, or other regulators which indicate:

  • There’s an ever-growing concern about the harms of online activity (such as for young people, from fraud, and so on), which is being reflected in legislation and official guidances across the world.
  • China’s big tech companies are catching up with the major US firms.
  • The UK may be particularly exposed to cybersecurity threats.
  • The management of risk has gone up the corporate agenda.
  • EU rules provide a framework to recognise the reciprocity between the data standards of different countries, and the UK will fall inside that alignment thanks to our adherence to GDPR in the new Data Protection Act 2018.

Overall, PrivSec London 2020 was an extremely informative conference. The key things that we learned are:

  • A culture shift is needed in most companies in order to keep up with changing legislation and guidelines. This includes planning for privacy and cybersecurity, getting buy-in across an entire organisation by explaining it in the business terms of each department, and only using data for transparent, legitimate reasons.
  • Security and privacy are not the same thing, and pointing enquiries about privacy to security protocols is insufficient. It’s impossible to buy ‘compliance in a box’ as a solution to GDPR, which raised people’s awareness of the legal bases for processing data.
  • Cybersecurity is a serious issue; the majority of passwords may already be leaked, and Multi-Factor Authentication is a necessity. Most problems are caused upstream by system and configuration issues or poor procedures, but most money is being directed downstream at the consequences, and there are huge skill gaps in the field.

What we can do for you about all this – check out our offers to find out how we can help you with your data protection programme:

  • GDPR Consultancy and Project Management – From start to finish, we will help manage your data protection programme and provide all the advice you need to become compliant.
  • GDPR Gap Analysis – Identify potential risks quickly and affordably, and set out clear recommendations of what will need to be done in order to comply with the law.
  • Data Protection Officers as a Service – As well as helping implement the necessary changes in your business for GDPR, we may be able to help you save money managing your data protection and securing your reputation with your customers.
  • Data Protection Staff Training – We can provide in-person or online support to teach your staff and contractors anything from the very basics of GDPR to the more advanced areas of the regulation.

Our thanks to the following guest speakers at PrivSec London 2020:

  • Steve Wright, Partner, Privacy Culture Ltd, previously DPO for Bank of England, also John Lewis and Unilever previously
  • Baroness Neville-Rolfe, EU Committee member
  • Sheila Firtzpatrick, Fitzpatrick & Associates
  • Dave Horton, Solutions Engineer at OneTrust
  • Shaab Al-Baghdadi, OnlineDPO; Emily Johnson, Microsoft, Bill Karazsia, Fortive; Joao Torres Barreiro, Wills Towers Watson;
  • Charlie Wijsman, Accenture Global Data Privacy Lead
  • Damine Larrey, Microsoft; Dominic Johnston, Epiq Global; Damian Murphy, Lighthouse Global
  • Alberto Quesada, Global Head of Group Data Management, BNP Paribas
  • John Richardson, DMA, and formerly the Telephone Preference Service; Giorgia Vulcan, EU Privacy Counsel for the EU DPO Office, Coca-Cola; Or Lechner, Luminati Networks; Marie Bradley, Adam & Eve; Magali Fey, Anonos
    Ben Hawes, Benchmark initiative
  • Joan Keevil, Professional e-Learning Expert, SAI Global
  • David Clarke, Founder, GDPR Technology Forum; Beth Brookner, Privacy Counsel and Data Protection Officer, GVC Ladbrokes Coral; Steve Windle, Incident Response Lead for Europe & Latin America, Accenture; Cosimo Monda, Director, Maastricht European Centre on Privacy and Cybersecurity; Simon Hall, Privacy Consultant & DPO Coach, AwarePrivacy
  • Stuart Aston, National Security Officer, Microsoft
  • Greg Van Der Gaast, Head of Information Security, University of Salford
  • Meera Narendra, Journalist, Data Protection World Forum; Dr Shavana Musa, Legal Consultant and Academic, The University of Manchester;  Victoria Guilloit, Partner, Privacy Culture; Ally Pinkerton, Group Head of Information Security Governance & Assurance, Group Information Security Office, Bupa
Insights from Sheila Fitzpatrick – PrivSec London 2020

Insights from Sheila Fitzpatrick – PrivSec London 2020

At the PrivSec London conference last week, we heard from Sheila Fitzpatrick, a global expert in privacy and compliance. Here’s our pick of what she had to say and her advice about GDPR, the culture shift it has already brought about, and data privacy and security.


Anonymising data doesn’t truly make data safe, because someone in the organisation still has access to the original data. You need to really think about why your company is getting and using data – achieving an ‘improved user experience’ is not a good enough excuse. Companies often think that security is the same thing as privacy, and point enquiries about privacy to security protocols – but this is an ‘instant fail’ in Fitzpatrick’s book.

Companies in many other countries don’t realise they’re still subject to other countries’ Data Protection laws such as GDPR – and many countries are also planning laws that will exceed its requirements. GDPR created an awareness of changing legal focus from data security to the lawful bases for processing data, which in turn became the impetus for new laws across the world – as well as adding new technologies which also created privacy issues.

GDPR became the biggest revenue generator since Y2K – and there are a lot of solutions in the market. Companies often like to believe that they can buy ‘compliance in a box’, which is impossible and shows a lack of understanding of privacy; they often throw technology at the problem and assume that innovation will provide a better user experience.

They think that privacy will become irrelevant as a result of this approach; that it can be addressed through a simple checkbox, or that they have a “legitimate interest” in processing personal data. However, this probably isn’t true if the basis can’t be explained on a page clearly. It also shouldn’t be forgotten that if consent is ambiguous, it’s invalid under GDPR.

Big Data is problematic for GDPR compliance on many fronts, and so are AI and Smart Cities: it’s difficult to meet consumer rights demands for example, and to maintain anonymity where necessary.

Fitzpatrick noted that to access public Wi-Fi from a major telecommunications company recently, she had to wade through 5 pages of Privacy Policy and still couldn’t find out how to turn cookies off – which is not compliant with GDPR requirements.

You need to always be honest about what you’re doing; if you can’t, you’ve got a problem. Be upfront about your use of third parties who receive data from you, and don’t let vendors dictate terms to you as their terms can put you in breach. Privacy improvements give a competitive advantage and failing to comply can damage reputations badly.


Our thanks to Sheila Fitzpatrick for these insights and for giving an engaging and thought-provoking talk.

Insights from Sheila Fitzpatrick – PrivSec London 2020

The Need for a Culture Shift – PrivSec London 2020

From what we heard at the PrivSec London conference this week, it was clear that a culture shift is needed in many – maybe most – companies coming into the new decade. Our thanks go to the guest speakers who provided these insights – you can see a full list of those whose talks we attended at the end of this article.

Here are some culture shifts that companies need to be making in order to keep up with changing legislation and guidelines:


CULTURE SHIFT #1: Have a plan for privacy and cybersecurity, with people and budgets allocated to it.

CULTURE SHIFT #2: Don’t assume that privacy = cybersecurity, you’ll fail if you assume it’s a tech matter. Do a dummy run of a data breach at your organisation – it’ll probably throw up some significant issues.

CULTURE SHIFT #3: To get buy-in across the organisation, explain Privacy and Cybersecurity matters in the business terms of each department or stakeholder group’s business goals, such as making money, reputation protection, and so on.

CULTURE SHIFT #4: Getting your data into one place (e.g. the cloud) makes it more controllable in one place with a lot of access but is also where the biggest risk lies. Work out what you’ve got and what you are moving to the cloud – delete as much as you can of your data set defensively, use the infrastructure and systems there to look after every piece of information in one system and apply policies across everything.

CULTURE SHIFT #5: Get tighter on checking, stating and enabling opt-outs for all the cookies working on your website(s), such as trackers: many of these may be coming from your third-party hosting provider rather than your own web developers and plugins! ‘Continued browsing’ or browser settings aren’t adequate to demonstrate consents anymore under the latest government guidances.

CULTURE SHIFT #6: For businesses, ethics ARE sustainability. They’re about only using data for transparent, legitimate reasons that genuinely improve the user experience and give users control over the data held about them and how it is used. They’re about not ruining trust or making customers uneasy about using your business or website or platform.


Our thanks to the following guest speakers at PrivSec London 2020:

  • Steve Wright, Partner, Privacy Culture Ltd, previously DPO for Bank of England, also John Lewis and Unilever previously
  • Baroness Neville-Rolfe, EU Committee member
  • Sheila Firtzpatrick, Fitzpatrick & Associates
  • Dave Horton, Solutions Engineer at OneTrust
  • Shaab Al-Baghdadi, OnlineDPO; Emily Johnson, Microsoft, Bill Karazsia, Fortive; Joao Torres Barreiro, Wills Towers Watson;
  • Charlie Wijsman, Accenture Global Data Privacy Lead
  • Damine Larrey, Microsoft; Dominic Johnston, Epiq Global; Damian Murphy, Lighthouse Global
  • Alberto Quesada, Global Head of Group Data Management, BNP Paribas
  • John Richardson, DMA, and formerly the Telephone Preference Service; Giorgia Vulcan, EU Privacy Counsel for the EU DPO Office, Coca-Cola; Or Lechner, Luminati Networks; Marie Bradley, Adam & Eve; Magali Fey, Anonos
    Ben Hawes, Benchmark initiative
  • Joan Keevil, Professional e-Learning Expert, SAI Global
  • David Clarke, Founder, GDPR Technology Forum; Beth Brookner, Privacy Counsel and Data Protection Officer, GVC Ladbrokes Coral; Steve Windle, Incident Response Lead for Europe & Latin America, Accenture; Cosimo Monda, Director, Maastricht European Centre on Privacy and Cybersecurity; Simon Hall, Privacy Consultant & DPO Coach, AwarePrivacy
  • Stuart Aston, National Security Officer, Microsoft
  • Greg Van Der Gaast, Head of Information Security, University of Salford
  • Meera Narendra, Journalist, Data Protection World Forum; Dr Shavana Musa, Legal Consultant and Academic, The University of Manchester;  Victoria Guilloit, Partner, Privacy Culture; Ally Pinkerton, Group Head of Information Security Governance & Assurance, Group Information Security Office, Bupa
Pop-ups for website cookies could breach of GDPR

Pop-ups for website cookies could breach of GDPR

Pop-ups asking us for our consent to website cookies have increased since GDPR came into force. However, a new study shows that many of these pop-ups could actually still be in breach of GDPR.

The study, titled: “Dark Patterns after the GDPR: Scraping Consent Pop-ups and Demonstrating their Influence”, focuses on the requirement for informed consent. According to an article from Telecoms.com:

The issue this study seems to have been conducted to address concerns how much information people are supplied with when asked for their consent, as well as the matter of presumed consent – i.e. opt-out as opposed to opt-in. In many cases this process is managed by third party consent management platforms (CMP), and that’s what the study focused on.

 

We scraped the designs of the five most popular CMPs on the top 10,000 websites in the UK,” says the abstract to the report. We found that dark patterns and implied consent are ubiquitous; only 11.8% meet the minimal requirements that we set based on European law. Second, we conducted a field experiment with 40 participants to investigate how the eight most common designs affect consent choices.

 

“We found that notification style (banner or barrier) has no effect; removing the opt-out button from the first page increases consent by 22–23 percentage points; and providing more granular controls on the first page decreases consent by 8–20 percentage points. This study provides an empirical basis for the necessary regulatory action to enforce the GDPR, in particular the possibility of focusing on the centralised, third-party CMP services as an effective way to increase compliance.

You can read the full article from Telecoms.com by clicking here.

The study has basically found that people are not being supplied with enough information to give their consent in the majority of cases. If consent is not sufficiently informed, then it is not up to the standards of GDPR.

In fact, GDPR defines consent as: “any freely given, specific, informed and unambiguous indication of the data subject’s wishes by which he or she, by a statement or by a clear affirmative action, signifies agreement to the processing of personal data relating to him or her”.

Because pop-ups relating to website cookies and other elements do not meet these criteria, they are not GDPR compliant – putting these websites and companies at risk of being penalised.

Unsure of how consent or other lawful bases for storing and processing data under GDPR work? Want to improve your compliance programme? Contact us today; our GDPR consultants can provide expert advice.

Dixons data breach leads to £500,000 fine

Dixons data breach leads to £500,000 fine

A Dixons data breach has led to the company being fined £500,000 by the ICO. At least 14 million people were affected after malware was installed on computer systems, allowing hackers to steal customers’ personal data.

The malware was installed on “point of sale” tills at stores for Currys, PC World, and Dixons travel. In addition to names, email addresses, and postcodes, the hackers also gained access to 5.6 million card details.

According to The Guardian:

Steve Eckersley, the ICO’s director of investigations, said the ICO had found “systemic failures” in the way Dixons Carphone looked after its customer data. “Such careless loss of data is likely to have caused distress to many people since the data breach left them exposed to increased risk of fraud,” he said.

This demonstrates the importance of cybersecurity in today’s digital age. Dixons has made basic errors in its approach – despite the area of business it is in – and is now paying the price.

However, the fine could have been much greater. This Dixons data breach took place between July 2017 and April 2018, just before GDPR came into force. As a result, Dixons has been fined the maximum amount for a breach of the Data Protection Act 1998 instead, for which the penalties are much less severe.

For comparison, British Airways was fined £183 million for a data breach last year. Dixons has been fortunate in this case – although the same cannot be said for their customers. The Guardian goes on:

Eckersley said: “The contraventions in this case were so serious that we imposed the maximum penalty under the previous legislation, but the fine would inevitably have been much higher under the GDPR.”

 

Alex Baldock, the group chief executive of Dixons Carphone, said the company disputed some of the ICO’s findings and was considering its grounds for appeal. The company had, he said, made significant investment in its information security systems and processes. There was “no confirmed evidence of any customers suffering fraud or financial loss as a result”, he added.

 

“We are very sorry for any inconvenience this historic incident caused to our customers,” said Baldock. “When we found the unauthorised access to data, we promptly launched an investigation, added extra security measures and contained the incident. We duly notified regulators and the police and communicated with all our customers.”

Click here to read The Guardian’s article in full.

Dixons has, at least, responded to the data breach in the proper way by notifying the ICO and doing what they could to limit the damage. Their cybersecurity failings, however, were considerable, and will hopefully be learned from.

Our GDPR consultants are here to help if you have concerns about your own data protection programme. Get in touch with us today to find out what we can do for you!