If you hold personal data on tape then you will have to figure a way of getting it of in case you have a request for it to be deleted, given back or transferred at the request of the citizen.
Tape is still for many organisation (more than 45% I believe) still represents their backup and archiving strategy and in some cases their disaster recovery capabilities, hopefully not too many in the later and due to its low cost and scale has always been the default of choice.
Other technologies, approaches and now cloud based services offer more effective, efficient and in some cases lower costs, but based on the effort and in some cases disruption and perhaps not a strong enough compelling argument, have not been enough to effect this change.
GDPR may well be the catalyst that now makes this happen.
For any organisation holding backup data on tape this is going to be, in some case very challenging, as they will have the usual operational issues of restoring, retrieving, backing up and validating for every single request and it could send IT departments into overload.
Not forgetting that the tapes could be held off site with a logistics provider, who hopefully you have a decent SLA with and also can identify the required tape(s) to present back to you.
If you have recently upgraded or changed your backup software and/or hardware or indeed no longer have the required tape drive to read the tape, let alone it not being corrupted, further challenges will then unfold.
I believe that a lot of organisations will have to review their backup/archive strategies and either migrate to disk or cloud or maybe both and use a variety of tools to address this.
The regulation is very clear in terms of time scales once a SAR (Subject Access Request) is received, with impending penalties for non-compliance if the individual feels they need to also advise the ICO (Information Commissioners Office) of this request.
Yes it is another issues to address, but it is better to have done this than face the consequences and avoid any further escalation.
So will GDPR kill tape, well it will certainly reduce its reliance especially if it holds personal data.
If you wish to discuss regarding this further then please don't hesitate to contact Karl Fonatanari on firstname.lastname@example.org or +44 (0)7484 265312