New Euro data fines on the way

Publication: The Times
Date: 21st March 2014
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EXCERPT

CASE STUDY: TAKING CARE OF DATA – AND BUSINESS
For businesses across Europe, proposed EU data protection regulations pose both technical and practical challenges.

Teleplan, a Dutch company with operations in the UK, provides repair and warranty services to computer and consumer electronic brands. Should your PC or tablet fail, there’s a good chance it will be Teleplan that will arrange a repair at its factory near Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport or send out a replacement device.

But this means the company has to take special care of customer data. Not only might there be personal information on the smartphones or tablets it repairs, but it also has to collect delivery and warranty information from customers. This data might seem mundane, but it still has to be protected.

According to Teleplan’s vice president of client solutions Sven Boddington, protecting data on devices means strict controls and a “chain of custody” around who handles a smartphone, tablet or PC.

For customer data, it means collecting the minimum amount of information Teleplan needs to do its job. It needs serial numbers and possibly a shipping address, but it would not, for example, ask for a customer’s date of birth as a matter of routine. Making sure the company collects only the information it needs is as important as protecting the information it holds, says Mr Boddington.

But the new laws also present an opportunity to do more with data. One change, during the drafting of the data protection regulation, has been to make it easier for companies to use “anonymised” data, stripped of personal information.

This, Mr Boddington says, could allow Teleplan to provide technical feedback to the electronics companies, based on the types of repairs they carry out which, in turn, could help them develop better products.

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