Across the EU, growing concerns about privacy in the the workplace and beyond are being met with new legislation designed to protect private data. What does this mean for business?
As we wait for new laws to be put into place, the impetus is on companies to take a proactive approach to protecting data and assuring employee privacy. That doesn’t just go for operators in the EU—businesses around the world will be affected by these developments.
First, a primer on new the new legislation. In January 2017, the European Commission proposed new regulations to “ensure stronger privacy in electronic communications, while opening up new business opportunities.” These new rules will extend the existing ePrivacy Directive beyond traditional telecoms operators to include electronic communications services including WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Skype, Gmail, iMessage, or Viber. In practice, this will require companies to get explicit consent to monitor conversations or collect usage data from users on digital communications apps.
Additionally, the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which goes into effect in May 2018, will place new obligations on organizations that handle data on EU citizens—that goes for companies operating outside the EU. The GDPR will require companies to have well documented data processing and protection policies, and to report any data breaches, placing a significant burden on businesses to adopt new policies in order to be compliant in 2018 (or face hefty fines).
There are two key concerns at hand here for employers. First: protection of individual privacy, and second protection against data breaches.
Beyond meeting legal requirements, employee privacy is a key concern in the digital workplace. From tracking productivity to monitoring communications, transparency, trust and consent are critical. Equally important is security. 2017 has been marked by corporate data breaches at companies like Yahoo! and HipChat, exposing billions of people to potential private data leaks. A data breach isn’t just costly due to financial penalties—it could mean a tarnished reputation and ultimately a loss of customers.
Developing a security strategy in the digital age is a complex challenge. A secure mobile communications platform such as Qnnect’s mobile app can help you prepare for new technological and legislative developments now and in the future. With Qnnect, companies retain full ownership of all data, thereby enabling employers to maintain clear policies for employee communications privacy, while keeping sensitive company and individual data safe, even when sent from employees’ personal mobile devices.