by Matt Alderton | May 20, 2018
The European Union's new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) goes into effect on May 25. The new regulation sets strict rules for any organization that collects data on EU citizens or residents -- including organizations that host meetings -- regardless of where the organization is based.

If you're a meeting professional who's wondering what you need to do to comply with the new rule, heed the advice of Kevin Iwamoto, senior consultant at travel consultancy GoldSpring Consulting, who says GDPR requires meeting planners to protect attendee names, photos, social media posts, computer IP addresses, and more.

"It's really more of a process revamp and a logistics evaluation," Iwamoto tells Successful Meetings Editor in Chief Vincent Alonzo. "You really need to do a personal information audit to see who currently has access to this data, why they have access to it, how are they using it, and maybe even revamping the whole process flow or standard operating procedure, to eliminate or reduce the amount of touchpoints for this data. So that you can kind of remove any kind of potential liability or fines. A lot of it has to do with taking a look at how we currently do it and how can we redo it to mitigate, eliminate, or minimize any opportunities for fines to be assessed by the European Union."

Ultimately, it comes down to consent: Attendees must give meeting organizers consent to collect, store, and share their data.

"When the consent is given digitally, it's easy, because [documentation is] captured online," Iwamoto explains. "But when the consent is verbal or when the consent is given in a non-technology environment, it's up to the [meeting organizer] to document the date of consent and the methodology and put that into their consent database. So now they have to keep these consent databases and anybody and everybody who's on a list has got to give you consent to be on that list. And if not, you have to take them off."

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Questions, Comments, Suggestions?
Contact Successful Meetings Editor in Chief Vincent Alonzo with your "How To" ideas.