UK and US execs challenged by complex data privacy laws, survey finds


A survey by Womble Bond Dickinson indicates that approximately half of executives feel very prepared to meet the privacy regulatory requirements in the UK, US and EU.

These requirements encompass the fields of data privacy, artificial intelligence (AI) applications, and emerging technologies. The report suggests a divide in preparedness between firms operating in the UK and the US, with more UK-based respondents feeling prepared due to a more established regulatory environment.

Despite this, the complexity of the regulatory environment remains a challenge, with only 53% of these respondents asserting that they are “very prepared” for compliance. In the US, confidence has declined from the previous year, with only 45% of executives feeling very prepared compared to 59% in last year’s survey. Data mapping and understanding data practices across organisations remain areas of concern, with only 34% of respondents having undertaken this crucial task.

The survey highlights the importance of cross-border data transfers in a digital and global business landscape. Although regulations add extra costs, 40% of UK respondents and 35% of US respondents consider them manageable. Data breaches and cybersecurity are considered the top concerns around data privacy.

Moreover, the adoption of AI technologies is on the rise, with more than 1 in 5 respondents stating they started using such technology in the past year. However, ethical concerns and legal risks are cited as key obstacles to AI adoption.

Womble Bond Dickinson partner Andrew Kimble said, “Europe has long been ahead of the US when it comes to data privacy laws, having had one in effect since 1995, along with the GDPR, which was adopted in 2016.”

Partner and Chair of the Privacy and Cybersecurity Team for Womble Bond Dickinson (US) Tara Cho said, “Data mapping – knowing what data you have and where it lives – is foundational for any effective data privacy and cybersecurity strategy.”

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