Printing work documents at home could land you with a GDPR fine

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Employees printing work documents using their home printer could be in breach of GDPR rules, which could ultimately lead to their employer receiving a fine. 

A new study by records management firm Go Shred has revealed the extent to which home workers have been printing sensitive workplace documents using personal devices.

Of greatest concern was the fact that 20% of homeworkers admitted to printing confidential employee information at home, including payroll information, addresses, medical details, and application forms. In 24% of cases, individuals have yet to dispose of these documents, while a further 24% intend to use a home shredder before placing the remnants of the document in their personal waste bins.

The study of 1,001 UK adults found 66% of home workers have printed work-related documents since they began working from home, averaging five documents every week. Among the most common work documents to print at home are meeting notes or agendas, with internal documents like procedure manuals also proving popular. Contracts, receipts, and industry-related copy, such as press releases or articles, made up the rest of the top five document types.

Little choice

Should any of the documents printed at home ultimately be used to steal data about an EU citizen, businesses could be found to have breached GDPR rules. Although 41% of those surveyed by Go Shred claimed to be aware of GDPR rules, they said they had no choice but to print documents at home.

“It’s quite shocking to see that so many home workers are printing items such as payroll and personal information like addresses,” Mike Cluskey, Managing Director at Go Shred, commented. “This indicates that there is definitely work to be done when it comes to highlighting the risks of printing documents at home. Even internal documents such as meeting notes and agendas can be risky, so extra precautions should be taken in order to dispose of these properly.”

Although, in most cases, home workers are unlikely to be aware that they may be breaking GDPR rules by printing work documents, claiming ignorance may not be enough to spare their employer from a hefty fine.

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Barclay Ballard

Barclay has been writing about technology for a decade, starting out as a freelancer with ITProPortal covering everything from London’s start-up scene to comparisons of the best cloud storage services.  After that, he spent some time as the managing editor of an online outlet focusing on cloud computing, furthering his interest in virtualization, Big Data, and the Internet of Things.