Boris Johnson and Liam Fox's GDPR comments 'extremely unhelpful' for events industry

Leading tech boss says comments reportedly made by MPs are "extremely unhelpful" for the MICE industry.

Boris Johnson. Credit: Instagram.
Boris Johnson. Credit: Instagram.

A leading tech boss and GDPR expert says comments reportedly made by international trade secretary Liam Fox and foreign secretary Boris Johnson about GDPR are "extremely unhelpful" for the events industry.

Chief executives of US and British tech industry associations wrote to the international trade secretary, to warn that Britain should not veer from implementing the new EU data regulations, according to a report in The Times.

Mr Johnson and Dr Fox have suggested that Britain renegotiate on the rules - to close trade deals with the US and other countries, the newspaper reported.

GDPR expert and Tenax Analytics managing director Bruce Smith said: "Dr Fox's comments may be speculative but they are extremely unhelpful - especially to our industry in the UK which is already wrestling with exactly how to interpret the ICO guidance on some of the key articles within the GDPR pre-Brexit. 

"Data is at the heart of the MICE industry. The data principles contained in the GDPR offer both protection and transparency to companies and the individuals dealing in the personal data of more than 500 million European subjects. 

"This is exactly what the MICE industry needs to ensure, that as a global industry, there is as level and robust a playing field as possible. The prospect of diverging from the new data rules, with lots of different countries potentially doing different deals - dressed up in the name of trade - will lead to data anarchy and the UK effectively being banished as a destination for meetings, conferences and events in Europe. "

Other members of the tech sector have accused Johnson and Fox of showing a "fundamental misunderstanding" of EU regulations.

The new GDPR regulations, which begin in May, will expand the definition of personal data to include not just names, addresses and bank records.

It will expand to include things like IP addresses that identify the location of a computer and genetic information.

And companies will be forced tell customers what they are doing with their data. 

For more information on GDPR read about the C&IT Roadmap event. 

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