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The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which comes into force in May 2018, is designed to give consumers more control over their personal data in the internet era.

As well as harmonising data rules throughout the EU, the regulation imposes tougher fines for breaches than the current act, which dates from 1998.

“Current legislation in respect of the storage and use of personal data already places a significant burden on businesses,” Richard Lewis, chief operating officer at ATG, told auctioneers. “GDPR will place additional obligations on all UK businesses that process the personal data of UK residents.

“Businesses will have to keep comprehensive records of data processing activities and there will be stricter requirements for obtaining valid consents for use of data, such as email addresses, when individuals enter their personal details. Those whose data is being stored will have additional rights.”

ATG is currently assessing the impact of GDPR on the trade, Lewis said, and will share its findings with customers. He urged auctioneers and dealers to “take steps to move towards compliance without delay”.

The seminar was the first of an ATG series updating auctioneers on its plans for 2017.

A second seminar was held in Nottingham on March 27 with a further event scheduled for the Mercure Hotel Bristol on April 24.