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Is GDPR the next Y2K Gravy Train?

A colleague of mine said recently in an article on GDPR that “a lot of the focus has been either on ‘the sky is falling in’ predictions about punitive/existential fines for breaches or on selling snake-oil products for ‘GDPR compliance'”.

He’s not wrong!

Remember the glory days of ’99 when sharp suited, hair gelled, sales types with big targets and heavy commission multipliers banged on about how the planes will fall from the sky, the vending machine would no longer give you your Opal Fruits (note to youth : Google it!) and the banking system would be on it’s arse till February unless you diverted 220% of your IT consulting budget to a small army of consultants to avert your imminent demise?

I do.

Remember the feeling of satisfaction when on the morning of January 1st 2000 at 00:01, you bunged 20p into the vending machine and heard your Opal Fruits dropping into the hopper at bottom with that same self assurance that they always did.

I do.

Remember the feeling of sheer triumph at the end of January 2000 when you’re sat with Finance going through your Q4 budget and realise that it was money well spent?

Err, no. I don’t.

And yet to quote Whitesnake ‘Here we are again’. Just 17 short years later and the sales types are back. The hair has gone so there’s no need for gell, the suits no longer fit but they’ve brought with them a younger bag carrier, who, unable to purchase a pair of socks, has instead invested in copious quantities of ‘tasche wax’. The sales targets are the same, the commissions big and the patter identical. GDPR. “General Data Protection Regulations” they whisper in your ears “It’ll creep up on you like Cancer : Are you ready?”.

Call me a cynical old duffer if you like (I did go to the Hacienda when I was a youth : Google it), but if you ask me, this has all the hallmarks of another Y2K wheeze. If you have time to read the regulations, and you should, you’ll see that although it’s pretty comprehensive, it’s also pretty bloody obvious in terms of implementing best practices.

You shouldn’t be alarmed; it needn’t be open heart surgery within your Enterprise. You just need to stuff a packet of Starbust in the top pocket of the hipster sale person sat ‘sans socks’ in your reception and escort him off the premises back up to Hoxton.

After that done, check out They’ve got accelerators for this sort of stuff that doesn’t cost the earth; plenty of socks but no hair gel and certainly no ‘tasche wax’.

Mark Rothwell-Brooks
Mark Rothwell-Brooks
Partner at

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One thought on “Is GDPR the next Y2K Gravy Train?

  1. Ask the Stock Exchange how they felt when they could not open for business in early April 2000 when their ‘year end’ processes kicked in a day early because their Y2K checking had missed the Leap Century linked with the ‘Bug’

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