back to article Struggling with GDPR compliance? Don't waste money on legal advice: Buy a shredder

There is, it seems, no deterring the General Data Protection Regulation snake-oil sellers, who will happily stick "GDPR compliant" onto whatever they have to hand – including shredders, bins and visitor books. As Google has recently learned, failing to meet the requirements of the GDPR can be costly – so it's no surprise …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I worked in the public sector when the Freedom of Information act came into force. The shredders were working overtime for weeks before the deadline to destroy lots of paper they didn't want falling into the public's hands.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      No idea why. A common FOI response just drops the I.

  2. Test Man

    The same bollocks as "digital"/"Freeview" aerial equipment.

    1. Lee D


      The frequencies that are used for digital / DVB-T / Freeview now are not exactly the same as those used for analogue TV (471 - 853 MHz in theory but we only had five channels, remember, and so many of those upper channels were never used - I think London TV never went past channel 31 or so, IIRC out of 69).

      However, digital TV needs a much better signal than analogue ever did. And even Channel 5 had to have a massive "retune" event pre-launch because not everyone's equipment was set up to receive the frequencies it went out on (VCRs often used the same channel!). So even pre-digital, if you were trying to get Channel 5 you may well find that the aerial you had that had served you for decades was suddenly no use for receiving that, and you'd have needed a new one.

      Same happened on digital conversion. Now, all aerials would be "not fit for purpose" if they weren't able to pick up all the digital frequencies (as they change and retune quite often, and you can easily be in the reception area of two transmitters and get two entirely different frequencies from two different directions and try to make the best of what you can receive). Hence, the "digital" aerials aren't any "different" in terms of how they operate but they may well have to conform to stricter criteria and certainly you want the aerial you buy to say digital on it, in case it's a pre-digital aerial that *wasn't* built with those frequencies in mind (it could have been on a shelf untouched for decades!).

      Please note I'm able to pick up Hemel and Crystal Palace from my HUGE LONDON TOWN home but I need a signal booster to get anything like decent reception on digital. I even bought a full loft aerial kit, it was actually worse, even with the booster. My neighbours all have the exact same problem. And yet if I swizzle my aerial around, I can pick up both transmitters in near-opposite directions at about the same strength (I do love the mapping now that shows you where they are and where your building is oriented - some of my neighbours are picking up one, some the other, and some are pointing god-knows-where!).

      Anyone who was just relying on their old aerial in that area, when digital switchover was happening, would have needed not only a new aerial but also a serious booster, just to get a bare signal.

      Currently, tuned to Crystal Palace, I get this as one of my best channels:

      Lock (0x1f) Quality= Good Signal= -39.88dBm C/N= 29.03dB UCB= 0 postBER= 0 preBER= 61.0x10^-6 PER= 0

      Without the booster, I get no signal lock, and things drop to less than 10dB. With a brand-new-huge in-loft aerial, no booster, I get less than 10dB. With a brand-new in-loft aerial, with booster, I get about 20dB (which means things sometimes break up, and certain channels don't come in at all).

      Digital really knocked signal reception for six. A "digital aerial" is a thing that can be vastly different to anything that existed pre-digital. If I tried to pull that stuff it with whatever aerial was here pre-digital, I'd get absolutely nothing whatsoever. But neighbours tell me that analogue TV was fine all the time that was around.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I used to live in North Wales. I got a better TV signal from the English transmitters than the Welsh ones.

        This had the advantage of giving me Channel 4 over S4C (I did speak Welsh and could follow Pobol y Cwm if I was so inclined.)

        1. Ken 16 Bronze badge

          I believe Welsh is GDPR compliant

          Information can be accessed but not easily

      2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        "Digital really knocked signal reception for six."

        That's because most people had the cheapest aerials they could get away with. ISTR the Maplin catalogue used have a few pages specifically about the various transmitters around the country and which bands they used so you could select the correct aerial. I paid a little extra for an "all band" aerial 30 odd years ago and it's till working well with Freeview. Having said that, it's on the roof and we are in a good signal area.

      3. M.V. Lipvig

        Strange. When the US made the switch to DTV my existing aerial did just fine. I went from 5 clearish channels and 2-3 colored static ones to about 30 crystal clear channels. I was also able to pull in clear channels from cities over 200 miles away if I spun the antenna just right, and that was with no signal booster. The antenna was mounted outside the house though, and covered about 10 square feet of space total.

  3. Keith Langmead

    Moving from "Cloud" to "GDPR"

    It's the new buzzword. In the same way that everything IT started being braded as "Cloud", even when it obviously always had been (like email, websites etc), now GDPR is obviously becoming the same but for office supplies.

  4. Fatman

    "GPDR Compliant shredder"??

    Fucking Marketing Weasels!!!!!

  5. DJV Silver badge


    I always seem to end up with lots of biros that no longer write (despite evidence of ink still being present). Maybe I should set up shop on Amazon and sell them off as "GDPR compliant".

    1. Rich 11 Silver badge

      Re: Hmmm

      If you lick the pen to draw the ink, you can be charged with non-compliance.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    GDPR marker pen ?

    For redacting ?

    Sorry, ad-hoc GDPR compliance app (the app being "appliance" rather than "application". But a fool and his money ...)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: GDPR marker pen ?

      Just point an IR camera at a document redacted in that war.

      1. The First Dave

        Re: GDPR marker pen ?

        Which war ?

        I don't think they redacted much during the Great War

        1. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

          Re: GDPR marker pen ?

          Oh, no, they redacted loads.

          That's why it's known as the Great War. Marketing triumph.

    2. Captain Scarlet Silver badge

      Re: GDPR marker pen ?

      I'm in, anyone want some GDPR approved scissors for £50 each?

      1. VikiAi

        Re: GDPR marker pen ?

        I can probably arrange a supply of GPDR-approved Lighter Fluid and Match.

  7. detuur

    See this as an opportunity

    I've started putting "GDPR Compliant" on my resume and I've been getting a lot more calls back.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: See this as an opportunity

      That'll be the geniuses in recruitment agencies ....

    2. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

      Re: See this as an opportunity

      I've started putting "GDPR Compliant" on my resume and I've been getting a lot more calls back.

      That gives me an idea - I should put "Certified Nutter" on my LinkedIn profile

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: See this as an opportunity

      "GDPR Compliant with cloud-oriented disruptive blockchain validation" might get even more response.

      1. Hollerithevo

        Re: See this as an opportunity

        I bow to the master. Now to try to memorise that awesome marketing sentence.

  8. chivo243 Silver badge

    Something tells me

    There will be at least one BOFH focusing on the antics of GDPR! Are you taking notes Simon?

  9. tiggity Silver badge

    GDPR compliant one night stands

    I ensure I get really hammered so I do not remember their name or address when i leave in the morning

  10. Steve Kerr

    Wouldn't it better to have

    an Enron compliant shredder?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Shred Focking Everything!

      For the Ross O'Carroll Kelly fans*

      *you know who you are. So does Facebook.

  11. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

    Re: Really good visitor book which hides the names of visitors!

    One of my clients is in a Business Centre that has one of these.

    My question is: how do you Sign Out at the end of your visit, as you have no way of knowing which is the entry you made upon entering the building? What I would think to do is to have two entries for each person's visit, with the "Time In" recorded on the first entry, and the "Time Out" on the second entry. This is not, however how they were using it. Hmm, spot of GDPR Consultancy there, I feel.

    EDIT: The example linked to in the topic is not the same type as the one I saw, which was a line by line entry with Name, Who Visiting, Car Reg. The only visible boxes were Time In and Time Out.

  12. Mark 85 Silver badge

    P.T. Barnum* strikes again.

    "There's a sucker born every minute."

    * According to the fount of all wisdom, Wikipedia, there's no evidence he actually said this but for those of us who quote it, that's proof enough since we got suckered into quoting it.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: P.T. Barnum* strikes again.

      Don't tell me you were suckered in by Wikipedia into believing that!

  13. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    "Further GDPR-compliant items include beauty client record cards that come with a pre-printed blurb about data retention and use"

    If the pre-printed blurb on such things offers sound advice it could be a good thing. Not so much if it just says "buy stuff labelled GDPR compliant".

  14. Joeyjoejojrshabado

    I had the 'GDPR compliant' visitor log book people calling me every other day for 2 weeks in May... even after I asked them to remove my details from their list!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      They noted it in their GDPR-compliant note book... but unfortunately they don't have your name and number

  15. Oengus

    Makes life easier

    "look suspiciously like normal box files, only with "recycling" logos on one and "confidential" on the other."

    This must make life easier for the "data" thieves.

  16. RobThBay

    Remember the Y2K scammers?

    So the Y2K scammers are back with all this GDPR compliant crap.

  17. Richard Scratcher
    Thumb Up

    I booked a trip to Las Vegas that was fully GDPR compliant.

  18. AlexGreyhead

    "People who bought this GDPR-compliant shredder were also interested in this GDPR-compliant bridge for sale in London"...

  19. nil0

    I got spammed... a company trying to convince me they were the experts when it came to GDBR.

    Yes, GDBR.

  20. Tezfair

    snake oil seller indeed

    I read up on GDPR and gave a reasonable heads up to a multi office consumer facing client, but it seemed that what I said couldn't possibly be right so they got a chap in at great expense which essentially repeated what I said and also gave them some long policy document which was specific to them. Nope, it turned out was a straight lift of documents that other companies had posted on the internet and this guy simply changed the company name.

    1. A Non e-mouse Silver badge

      Re: snake oil seller indeed

      it turned out was a straight lift of documents that other companies had posted on the internet

      It wasn't a takeaway they lifted the documents from, by any chance....?

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just use GSuite

    With no e-mail retention. That way you can claim "If people request FOI's we can just claim we no longer have the data". That was what I heard a data protection officer claim in a certain local governement department. Despite requiring to keep some e-mails for years, Gsuite e-mail retention was just too expensive. Which would ruin the false claim that Gsuite was cheaper than Microsoft 365 or onsite volume license.

    1. Cynical Pie

      Re: Just use GSuite

      As a local government DP person I'm calling bullsh!t on this.

      The DP person wouldn't have said it, their boss or a Director would have said it then expected the DP Person to make it happen - trust me I know as I was once that person who had to make it happen. I also made sure I retained all of the emails about it where I told the Director what we were doing was non-compliant but as I wasn't far enough up the food chain I was ignored and told to do it anyway.

      Fortunately I was never told to destroy docs after I explained doing that to avoid disclosure was a criminal offence!

      As an aside the keeping some emails for years claim is also unlikely to be an FOI issue as in local government the majority of information with long term retention requirements are safeguarding/social care related so are personal data and can be withheld from an FOI anyway.

  22. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge

    I come fully GDPR compliant..

    I can remember a face but never a name (seriously I've worked for years in companies before not knowing the name of any but my most frequently communicated with colleagues).

    That said I'm not sure about my home CCTV system though it does empty itself after 3 months so it should be OK I think..

    1. Cynical Pie

      Re: I come fully GDPR compliant..

      Your home CCTV is only an issue if the cameras cover something other than your property - for example they also capture the neighbours garden or the pavement outside your front garden.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Did you intentionally use a pic of a strip shredder?

    We used to call them Spook Specials, or something similar, because so easy to reassembler as opposed to cross-shredders.

  24. ukgnome

    Psssst hey you - yes you

    wanna buy some GDPR compliant notebooks?

    The same as am ordinary note book but they have their own envelope.

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