"Win, or lose! Sink, or swim! One thing is certain, we'll never give in..."

During breeding season (it says here on Wikipedia) frogs can find themselves in competition with hundreds, perhaps thousands of others. All of them are looking for someone to pair up with, and do so by emitting louder and louder croaks in a desperate attempt to be heard.

What is interesting about this is that the frogs fall into a pattern, all emitting their croaks in turn, one after another, in their bid to attract a partner. In this pattern (sometimes known as a frog chorus) the volume may vary but the essential sounds are all the same.

In GDPR terms, my sense is that customers are getting pretty tired of hearing the same message, again and again, from data protection specialists of one species or another. In the quoted research below, it's a lawyer denigrating technology providers for selling compliance-guaranteeing software. But I could just as easily have picked a privacy consultant complaining about under-qualified lawyers interfering on their turf, or tech companies bemoaning the cost of consultancy services when all that is really needed is their bit of compliance kit.

What I find strangest about this is that, among most of the specialists that I deal with, and amongst my clients as well, there is a recognition that none of these messages is terribly realistic. The best outcomes are achieved through co-operation. There is a place for legal advice, so long as it is practical. There is a place for a specialised privacy consultant to embed policies and processes, so long as they know their limitations. There is certainly a place for automation, to simplify and standardise data handling and compliance for busy staff who need all the support they can get.

Co-operation, mutual support and a professional willingness to respect one another's strengths (and acknowledge our own weaknesses). These are the way to make sure that rather than a veneer of compliance, our clients are left with something more substantive - a resilient data protection culture with policies, processes and systems that work together to serve those clients and their data subjects alike. To quote from the most famous frog chorus of all:

"...side by side, hand in hand, we all... stand... together (bom bom!)"