Perceptions of controllers on EU data protection reform: Finnish perspective

Oct 24, 2014

Data protection regulations are undergoing a global reform. The European Commission proposed a reform of the EU data protection framework in 2012. One major driver for the reform has been the research on the consumer perceptions indicating that the consumers are worried about their personal privacy. However, there has been practically no research on perceptions of companies (the controllers of the personal data) and on the data protection reform. This research analyses the awareness and the willingness to act towards compliance regarding the proposed General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in Finland in 2013. The GDPR will replace the Finnish Personal Data Act and therefore plays a central role in the Finnish privacy regulation.

This research found that the general level of awareness was low: only 43% of the controllers were aware of the forthcoming reform. The willingness to act or to take steps towards the compliance was even lower: 31% of controllers said that they are planning to act towards compliance during this year. These results indicate that the companies are quite unfamiliar with the reform that correlates with other relevant studies in Europe. Personal data are said to be the oil of the digital economy, the hottest commodity of the market today. There are companies that understand this, but the majority seems to ignore this at least what comes to their awareness regarding the reform, even the reform captures many of the best practices regarding processing of personal data.