Today we are joined by Alexandre Pereda-Baños, the Senior Researcher of Eurecat working on the data analysis of SMOOTH. Eurecat is one of the SMOOTH project partners, and Alexandre is a senior analyst in charge of perception and cognition research.
Alexandre has joined us to delve with us in how GDPR compliance can really help businesses build a strong profile towards their clients and how SMOOTH is set up to make the process of analyzing their GDPR compliance as intuitive and deep as possible.
Hi Alex, thank you for joining us. Let’s start with why is being GDPR compliant good for business?
Being GDPR compliant is necessary for any companies that are dealing with personal data, be it from customers, employees, and suppliers, therefore its benefits are clear-cut in terms of being law-abiding. Also, as social awareness of online data protection and privacy issues increases, it can be expected that proper data management policies will increase the reputation and trust towards companies.
Ok, so what is SMOOTH and how does it work when you participate in a pilot?
SMOOTH is a technological platform that allows businesses to check their GDPR compliance by means of a questionnaire and a series of algorithms for the automatic analysis of databases of personal data, documents relating to data protection such us privacy policies, consent forms, cookie policies, etc. Once users input the necessary information, a Compliance Report is automatically generated that indicates where there might be problems in the treatment of data by these companies and which actions they should take in order to address them.
Participants in the pilot go through this whole process as they would do once the platform is open to the public, and we collect their feedback on how usable they find the platform both in terms of their interaction with the questionnaire, the information they need to provide, and the recommendations provided in the Compliance Report.
What kind of businesses has participated in SMOOTH pilots?
So far, and perhaps unsurprisingly, most of the companies that have joined the pilot are companies with a clear technological base, be it because the core of their business is technological itself, or because they operate online, the latter becoming especially relevant given the pandemic situation. Thus, for example, we have had companies that operate in fields such as e-Health or Data Science, as well as companies that operate in providing cultural content on an online basis.
How has it helped them?
The focus of this first series of pilots has been to test the usability of the platform, with the aim of ensuring that the interaction with the platform is as user-friendly as possible and that users understand both the questions they’ve been asked and the recommendations provided, whereas a final pilot to be started in November will focus on the question of how useful and marketable they find the platform.
Despite this, as mentioned above, social awareness of the importance of data protection and good practices regarding privacy is still quite low even for businesses with a technological base and, in this sense, many businesses participating in the pilots have indicated that interacting with the SMOOTH platform has been very helpful in putting them in the know of what the GDPR requires from them, how they should adapt to it, and what is the right way to operate with personal data.