In this blog post, you will learn:

  • Some basic insights into the world of privacy and GDPR within the transport sector.
  • The specific challenges and risks your company may face.
  • Practical tips to improve your data security.
  • How to comply with regulations and build trust with your customers and partners.

Personal Data in the Transport Sector

The transport sector processes vast amounts of personal data daily. Personal data refers to any information about a person that can be identified directly or indirectly.

In the transport sector, this includes data such as names, addresses, contact details, driver’s licenses, time spent, kilometers driven, geolocation data, and sometimes even sensitive information like drivers’ medical records. This data is crucial for the efficient functioning of transport services but also poses significant risks if not properly protected.

GDPR Legal Grounds within the Transport Sector

Under the GDPR, there are specific legal grounds for processing personal data. The most relevant for the transport sector are:

  1. Consent
    For example, for marketing purposes.
  2. Performance of a (employment) contract
    Keeping track of kilometers driven may be necessary for expense reimbursements and route planning.
  3. Legal obligation
    Storing data for tax and labor laws is one such obligation.
  4. Legitimate interest
    For activities necessary for business operations, as long as they do not outweigh the privacy rights of the individuals involved.

A practical first step for your transport company is to create an overview of all personal data processed by your company and identify the legitimate basis for each processing activity.

Strengthen Trust with Your Customers and Partners

Transport companies must be transparent about their data collection methods and the reasons for them. This can be done through privacy statements on the website, information letters to customers, and internal communication to employees. A solid privacy policy is not only a legal requirement under the GDPR but also an essential document that forms the basis of how a company handles personal data. The policy should clearly describe what data is collected, why it is collected, how it is protected, retention periods, and the rights of individuals. This not only provides guidance to the employees of the transport company but also strengthens the trust of customers and partners.

privacy GDPR De Groote De Man

Sharing Personal Data

In the transport sector, sharing data with third parties is often unavoidable, such as collaborating with logistics partners or government agencies.

It is crucial to ensure that this sharing is done in a safe and responsible manner. Make sure there are solid agreements with external parties (processing agreements) and that these parties also comply with GDPR requirements. We advise transport companies to always consider whether sharing data is necessary and whether it is possible to use anonymized data.

Particularly Sensitive: Protecting Geolocation Data

A particularly sensitive aspect of data processing in the transport sector concerns geolocation data. Thanks to advanced technologies like GPS tracking and telematics, vehicles and goods are constantly tracked and monitored. Although this data is valuable for efficiency and optimization of logistics processes, it also reveals personal information about drivers and passengers, such as home addresses and detailed movement patterns.

Transport companies must therefore take strict measures to protect this information. The Belgian Data Protection Authority (GBA) states that a geolocation system must meet four fundamental principles:

  1. Legality
  2. Legitimacy
  3. Proportionality
  4. Transparency

This implies that the purpose of collecting geolocation data must be clear, such as optimizing professional movements, vehicle maintenance, cost management, or monitoring work schedules.

Other Practical Tips for GDPR Compliance

Some other practical tips for GDPR compliance are:

  • Implement technical and organizational measures, such as encryption, access restrictions, and regular security audits. Always consider privacy protection during the design phase of new systems and processes, also known as the privacy by design principle.
  • Develop a data breach procedure and report a data breach to relevant authorities and individuals in a timely manner.
  • Inform all employees about privacy rules and their responsibilities to ensure that everyone within the company adheres to the guidelines.

Why is This Important for Your Transport Company?

Non-compliance with the GDPR can result in heavy fines of up to 20 million euros or 4% of the annual global turnover, whichever amount is higher. Additionally, a data breach can lead to significant reputational damage and loss of customer trust.

We notice that customers and partners increasingly demand transparency and care with their data. Therefore, it is crucial for transport companies to proactively take measures to ensure data protection and minimize future risks. Privacy can also be an opportunity to differentiate your company in a competitive market.

The transport sector thus faces the challenge of balancing the benefits of modern systems with the strict requirements of the GDPR. Whether it is tailored advice, DPO services, or assistance with urgent issues such as data breaches or procedures with the Data Protection Authority, our dedicated team of privacy experts within the Data, Technology & Entertainment Team is ready to support you.


Do you have questions, need advice, or other needs regarding data and technology within your company?

Contact our DGDM experts and they will be happy to assist you.

Additionally, DGDM also offers ‘DPO as a service‘. We will work with you to determine your company’s needs. Our experts will analyze the processes to ensure they comply with the law. This way, DGDM provides the option of having one of our experts serve as internal or external Data Protection Officers.

DPO as a service.

DPO De Groote De Man Data Protection Officer