How many of us are going to actually seize power… really? Many would like to see a major change in government and legislative oversight. The reality is that our involvement in a political coup is highly unlikely. However, there’s always the danger of breaking laws in other ways. Not observing law could be due to lack of awareness, ignorance, lethargy, misunderstanding, moral objection and straight-up disobedience!
What was Julius Caesar saying?
Disobedience to ‘bad’ laws can sometimes motivate democratic processes into motion. However, even with a sound moral objection, this is not an unlimited right to disobey any law which one regards as unjust. Misunderstanding the requirements of the law is a possible defence, but only if someone has taken reasonable steps to become acquainted with the regulations, guidance and case law. Otherwise, you stumble into ignorance and lethargy.
Lack of awareness is no answer to not obeying the law of the land. This includes ignorance of the details and an absence of effort in implementing what it requires.
Compliance in organisations is of growing importance as the relevant statute books swell with new regulations. The General Data Protection Regulation is now very present in the business community. Lack of awareness is not really an option unless you’ve got your head stuck in the sand.
Ignorance of the detail of the new rules is very possible as guidance is not all published. Also, reading the 80-page legal document is not easy. This could lead to lethargy with words like, “I’ll wait until the release of all the guidance” or “I’m sure the ICO will cut me some slack”. Is that any reason to hold back preparations? Toleration of misunderstanding during the implementation of the GDPR is in its early days is expected. However, ‘moral’ objections like “this is just another tax on businesses” will not sit well with regulators.
All said and done
On 25 May 2018 the General Data Protection Regulation, and the new UK Data Protection Act, will become something which you could be found to be disobeying. So unless you’re planning to overthrow the UK government you’d better get on with observing the law.