TechEx educates attendees on GDPR implementation

Worden Thane Partner Joel Henry tells TechEx attendees about the legal implications of implementing GDPR. TechEx was held on May 24 at Missoula College and hosted by Montana World Trade Center. Photo courtesy of MWTC.

By Katy Spence

On May 24, the Montana World Trade Center hosted the 2018 Technology Export Initiative (TechEx) event, which focused on the European Union’s (EU) General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). TechEx aims to connect Montana businesses in industries such as cloud computing, photonics, and bioscience with insights from international trade and technical law experts.

Presenters Jop Fellinger of Fruytier Lawyers in Business, Bruce Tribbensee, co-founder of Submittable, and Joel Henry, partner at Worden Thane,gave attending companies a crash-course in what GDPR may mean for their business. The new rules have far-reaching implications and serious consequences for non-compliance.

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Fellinger Skyped into the meeting from the Netherlands to share his insights on the eve of the regulation’s enforcement. He said that while GDPR presents a huge challenge for implementation, it presents opportunities for companies to more meaningfully engage with their customers over longer periods of time.

GDPR applies to any company processing personal data of EU citizens, regardless of whether that company is in the EU or not. Under the new regulations, individuals will now have more control over their data. Among other things, they will have the right to erasure, or the right to be forgotten. In other words, under certain circumstances, companies must be able to remove someone’s personal data from their systems within four weeks of a request to do so.

Among other responsibilities, companies under GDPR will be required to have an easy-to-read privacy statement with clear references to consent. They need to be clear about why data is needed, how it is being used, and only process data necessary for that purpose. Companies must ensure the data is accurate and take measures against unlawful or unauthorized use of that data.

Penalties for non-compliance could include fines up to 4% of annual global turnover or €20 million ($25.5 million), whichever is greater. There is a tiered approach for fines, so companies can be penalized at different rates for infractions.

Click the link below to hear Fellinger’s presentation and Submittable Co-founder Bruce Tribbensee’s experience with preparing for GDPR, and Worden Thane Partner Joel Henry’s legal advice for making the transition.

View the slide shows from TechEx on Montana World Trade Center’s website.

About the Author: Katy Spence is Staff Writer and Digital Content Specialist for the Montana High Tech Business Alliance. She worked previously with the Missoula Current and Treesource, and has an Environmental Journalism Master’s Degree from the University of Montana.

About the Publisher: Launched in 2014, the Montana High Tech Business Alliance is an association of more than 340 high tech and manufacturing companies and affiliates creating high-paying jobs in Montana. For more information visit

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