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Global retail leaders work together to meet upcoming data regulations

Retailers across the globe are committed to protecting their customers’ personal data — and now they are one step closer to that end.

The National Retail Federation and EuroCommerce announced on Monday they are working together to develop a common approach on implementing new European data protection regulations. The move works to address the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), adopted by the European Parliament and Council in April 2016, which will create a single law on data protection across Europe.

“This cooperative effort will help retailers on both sides of the Atlantic prepare their businesses for implementation of the regulations with a retail-specific approach that continues the seamless operations and personalized shopping experiences our customers expect,” said NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay.

Once the GDPR comes into force in May 2018, retailers with storefronts, websites, mobile apps or other digital platforms serving customers will face new compliance standards, additional administrative burdens and liability for violations as well as more stringent enforcement penalties. This will significantly impact European companies, as well any business outside of Europe that collect data on European customers.

The NRF and EuroCommerce reached an agreement during the first of two days of meetings in Brussels, which hosted members of both organizations, as well as U.S. government and European officials and European-based retailers. They discussed all issues impacting the retail industry, including data portability, consumers’ “right to erasure” and having their data removed under the GDPR, gaining data subjects’ consent, profiling and dealing with data breaches. EuroCommerce and NRF held a similar meeting last year to address issues of common concern to retailers on both sides of the Atlantic.

“Consumers want confidence that their data is being treated with care and protected by those holding it,” said EuroCommerce director-general Christian Verschueren.

“By working together, we are looking to ensure that we can implement the regulations in a way which serves all of our customers’ interests,” Verschueren added. “We hope that our transatlantic cooperation can pave the way for a global approach that serves both the privacy concerns of citizens and the competitiveness of industry.”
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