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Safe Harbour Ruling – Is your social media manager up to speed?



The European Court of Justice has ruled that a 2000 data protection agreement that permitted the transfer of EU data to the US is now invalid.

Spearheaded by an Austrian privacy campaigner Max Schrems, the two year case forced the EU’s highest court to review the protection of people’s data as it travelled transatlantic in light of the concerns raised following the Snowdon revelations.

Whilst the ramifications for the social media platforms themselves could be extensive, closer to home, the decision has highlighted the need for UK based social media managers to understand the risks they take when utilising US based service and product providers.  Many products allow access to third party apps, with data stripped and stored.

Worryingly, recent research appears to suggest that social media managers are not strong at conducting due diligence or asking the right questions around the products they use, with little back up from the purchasing team who grapple with a lack of experience in navigating their way through the digital purchase environment.

A must for all social media managers when signing up for products/ services/ apps or add on digital functionality is to undertake due diligence. Key questions should include:

  1. Who has developed/ owns this technology?
  2. Are they recommended?
  3. Has this technology been penetration tested?
  4. Will they be investing to keep it safe/ up to date?
  5. Where will data be stored & which legal jurisdiction?

People should be very wary of ‘free apps’ – as exciting or ‘gimmicky’ as they may at first appear, plugging usernames and passwords into them could leave the organisation at considerable risk of security issues and reputation damage in the future.

The message is a strong – buyer beware! The Safe Harbour Ruling is making the UK and the rest of the EU wake up to the need to undertake robust due diligence when selecting a technology partner/supplier.

Do you need help navigating the legal issues around social media? Join our webinar ‘The Laws of Social Media’ on January 28th led by Steve Kuncewicz, recognised as a leading expert on the legal issues of social media.

CrowdControlHQ is the UK’s leading social media risk management and compliance platform, built for enterprise.

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James Leavesley