Data protection
Data protection: new rules come into force on 25 May 2018

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The Information Commissioner’s Office, which polices data protection, says the phone service and accompanying online tool kit are aimed at firms with less than 250 staff and recognise “the particular problems” such businesses face in getting ready for the new law, called the General Data Protection Regulation or GDPR.

Auctioneers and dealers can phone the ICO helpline at 0303 123 1113 and select option 4 to be put through to ICO staff who will offer support.

Firms that have yet to prepare for GDPR can also access guides from the ICO website, including a ’12 steps to take now’ downloadable graphic.

Auctioneer challenges

The helpline launches after a leading lawyer told a meeting organised by The Society of Fine Art Auctioneers and Valuers (SOFAA) that auction houses faced two main challenges regarding GDPR.

“The first issue is in relation to the way auctioneers deal with contacts they do business with – bidders and sellers and those for whom they might be doing valuations,” said Ian De Freitas, partner at law firm Farrer & Co.

“GDPR represents an increased need for businesses to be transparent about what they are doing with personal data and so to be GDPR compliant, auctioneers need to revise their privacy policies so they can continue to do basic things such as marketing and sharing their data with other organisations.”

Operating an opt-out policy to marketing communications “won’t work any more, De Freitas told the SOFAA gathering. “You have to get people to tick the box to consent or you may have other legal grounds to process their data.”

The other key issue arises where auctioneers use cloud service providers for data storage. “Contracts with those suppliers are probably not compliant with GDPR, and so organisations should renegotiate with those suppliers,” De Freitas said.

ATG will provide a guide to GDPR later this month, free to print and digital subscribers