LIVE FROM GSMA MOBILE 360 SERIES – PRIVACY & SECURITY: Multinational operator Veon claimed not only was complying with GDPR for its functions based in Europe fairly simple, its “ultimate goal” is to do so with all its products worldwide.
The company, headquartered in Amsterdam, said while it has a big footprint in countries including Russia, Georgia and Pakistan, its operations in Europe are small and complying with the new regulation was “quite a crisp and nimble exercise”.
As Jasper Haas, data protection officer (pictured, left), explained, Veon has a relatively new IT system, with its headquarters set up in 2011 and its digital business formed two years ago. The lack of legacy systems, coupled with the fact the company already had workstreams in place for data inventory and improvement of security well in advance, meant the process was quite seamless.
Meanwhile Jean Gonie, group director public policy (pictured, centre), explained countries outside the EU don’t have data protection regulation and look to Europe as an example of what they should be doing.
While having to comply with local laws, “at some stage Veon would like to take inspiration from GDPR rules” and implement a similar model across all its operations. It already offers a GDPR-compliant product, its OTT messaging platform, across all its markets.
However, in order to do this fully, it faces the challenge of getting other companies to do the same.
“From a competitive point of view, if we are the only ones to do this, it won’t be fair,” Gonie explained.
He added he wants to show that data protection “is in our DNA” and that privacy by design is of utmost importance.