Mobile World Capital Barcelona organized a new edition of Mobile Talks: What will change with the new data protection law?, a session that assessed the changes put forward by the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). During the event, speakers and guests alike reflected on the legal modifications in data management that don’t only affect citizens, but also institutions and public or private entities.

Carlos Grau, CEO of MWCapital, kicked off the session in front of the hundred people who came to the Movistar Centre auditorium. In his speech, Grau highlighted the importance of data security, a capital asset that enables personalizing services and that was in need of a legal harmonization as is the Regulation. After remembering how prominent this subject had been during the last edition of Mobile World Congress, Grau invited the event moderator Mara Balestrini, CEO of Ideas For Change, to take the stage and start the session.

On this occasion it counted with a highly multidisciplinary panel of experts: Lluis Sanz, Data Protection Delegate of the Barcelona City Hall; Jesús Martrat, a partner of the Privacy Department of Rousaud Costas Duran (RSD); Sabina Guaylupo, head of privacy and data protection at Inmark Europa; Dr. Oleguer Sagarra, cofounder and leading Data Scientist at Dribia Data Research; Itziar de Lecuona deputy director of the Bioethics and Law Observatory of the University of Barcelona (UB), and Javier Creus, founder of Ideas For Change and co-promoter of Saluscoop.

To begin, Balestrini pointed out that the changes in the regulation respond to the need to regulate and propose new management models. During the debate, Lluis Sanz, from Barcelona City Hall, and Javier Creus, from Ideas For Change, agreed that the new GDPR isn’t the first law regulating data policies, as in Barcelona data has been regulated since as far back as 1996. However, technological progress and the growing relevance and volume of data stored has ended up requiring measures capable of defining standards on a European level to protect citizen intimacy.

In this regard, Itziar De Lecuona, from the UB’s Bioethics and Law Observatory, stressed the relevance of transferring knowledge about user’s rights regarding their data to promote a comprehensible and transparent ecosystem, bolstered by the public sphere. In the same vein, Oleguer Sagarra, from Dribia, pointed out that “this transparency would provide an opportunity for businesses to understand their responsibility when transferring or managing data.”

On the other hand, Sabina Guaylupo, from Inmark Europa, valued the pressure applied so far to delineate corporate responsibility regarding data. Thanks to the new regulation, citizens will have a right to be forgotten and will be able to request justifications for the management and portability of their data, depending on the use that’s been made of them.

However, Jesús Martrat from RCD, wanted to highlight that although the regulation aims to protect the rights of the citizen by establishing obligations for all business, it hasn’t yet specified how these should proceed to do so. Also, Martrat evidenced that the language used in the new law doesn’t contemplate relevant concepts such as ‘Open Data’, ‘Big Data’ or the use of ‘Cookies’, all of which are currently part of the technological context, therefore leaving noteworthy gaps in the current technological debate.

By way of conclusion, the speakers expressed their opinions on the future they expect with the implementation of the GDPR. They highlighted the need to apply a clearer design in communiqués that require data transference so that people can count with greater digital autonomy and enjoy some of the benefits earned from the exploitation of their information. A model that allows citizens to manage their visibility and exposure and that demands higher transparency from institutions and organizations.

At the end of the session, the speakers had the chance to answer the questions put forward by the audience about the implementation of the new law, such as the type of sanctions contemplated in the event of non-compliance or the need to maintain a proactive attitude regarding social learning in the field of data management.

For more information, below you can find the video summary of the Mobile Talks session: