A complete guide to understanding GDPR: what you need to know
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a regulation that aims to strengthen and standardize data protection for all individuals within the European Union (EU) and the European Economic Area (EEA). It also addresses the export of personal data outside the European Union and European Economic Area. The General Data Protection Regulation came into effect on May 25, 2018, and has had a significant impact on how companies handle and protect personal data.
Basic principles of GDP
The GDPR is based on several basic principles governing the processing of personal data:
- Legitimacy, justice and transparency: Personal data must be processed lawfully, fairly and in a transparent manner with respect to the data subject.
- Purpose limitations: Personal data must be collected for specific, explicit and legitimate purposes, and not processed in a manner that is incompatible with those purposes.
- Data reduction: Personal data should be sufficient, relevant, and limited to what is necessary in relation to the purposes for which it is processed.
- Accuracy: Personal data must be accurate and up-to-date. Inaccurate data should be corrected or erased without delay.
- Storage limits: Personal data shall be retained in a form enabling identification of data subjects for no longer than is necessary for the purposes for which the personal data are processed.
- Integrity and confidentiality: Personal data shall be processed in a manner that ensures appropriate security, including protection against unauthorized or unlawful processing and against accidental loss, destruction or damage.
Who does the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) apply to?
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) applies to any organization that processes the personal data of individuals in the European Union, regardless of where the organization is located. This means that companies outside the EU that provide goods or services to individuals in the EU or monitor the behavior of individuals in the EU are also subject to the GDPR. The regulation applies to all types of organizations, including corporations, nonprofits, and government agencies.
Main requirements for GDP
There are several basic requirements that organizations must meet to comply with the GDPR:
- consent: Organizations must obtain clear and explicit consent from individuals to process their personal data. Consent must be free, specific, informed and unambiguous.
- Data Protection Officer (DPO): Some organizations are required to appoint a Data Protection Officer (DPO) to oversee data protection practices and ensure compliance with the GDPR.
- Data breach notification: Organizations must notify the relevant supervisory authority of a data breach within 72 hours of becoming aware of it, unless the breach is unlikely to result in a risk to the rights and freedoms of individuals.
- Access right: Individuals have the right to access their personal data and receive information about how their data is processed.
- Right to erasure: Also known as the “right to be forgotten,” individuals have the right to have their personal data erased under certain circumstances.
- Data transfer capability: Individuals have the right to receive the personal data they have provided to the Organization in a structured, commonly used and machine-readable format.
- Data Protection Impact Assessment (DPIA): Organizations must conduct a Data Protection Assessment (DPIA) to address activities that are likely to give rise to significant risks to the rights and freedoms of individuals.
Penalties for non-compliance
Organizations that do not comply with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) can face significant fines and penalties. The maximum fine for a serious breach of the GDPR is €20 million or 4% of the organisation’s global annual turnover, whichever is higher. This means that non-compliance with the GDPR can have a significant financial impact on organisations.
Steps to ensure compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
Organizations can take several steps to ensure GDPR compliance and protect individuals’ personal data:
- Evaluation of data processing activities: Conduct a comprehensive assessment of all data processing activities within the organization to identify areas that may pose a risk to individuals’ rights and freedoms.
- Update privacy policies: Review and update privacy policies to ensure they are transparent, concise, and easy for individuals to access.
- Getting the approval: Obtaining clear and explicit consent from individuals to process their personal data. Consent must be obtained for specific purposes and individuals must be informed of their right to withdraw consent at any time.
- Train crew: Provide training to employees on data protection practices, GDPR requirements and the importance of protecting personal data.
- Implementation of security measures: Implement appropriate security measures to protect personal data from unauthorized access, disclosure, alteration, and destruction.
- Responding to data subject requests: Establish processes to respond to data subject requests, such as requests for access, correction, erasure, and data portability.
- Conduct data protection impact assessments: Conduct personal data protection assessments to address activities that are likely to give rise to significant risks to the rights and freedoms of individuals.
- Monitor and review compliance: Regularly monitor and review GDPR compliance to ensure data protection practices are effective and up to date.
Benefits of GDPR compliance
While GDPR compliance requires effort and resources, it also provides many benefits to organizations:
- Enhancing trust and reputation: GDPR compliance demonstrates an organization’s commitment to protecting individuals’ personal data, which can enhance trust and reputation.
- Improve data security: GDPR compliance encourages organizations to implement strong data security measures, reducing the risk of data breaches and cyberattacks.
- Competitive advantage: GDPR compliance can provide a competitive advantage, especially when doing business in the EU, because it demonstrates adherence to high data protection standards.
- Reducing financial risks: Complying with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) reduces the risk of significant fines and penalties in the event of non-compliance.
- Simplified data management: GDPR compliance encourages organizations to adopt streamlined data management practices, which can improve efficiency and reduce costs.
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has had a significant impact on how organizations handle and protect personal data. As organizations continue to adapt to GDPR requirements, it is important to understand the core principles, requirements, and benefits of compliance. By implementing measures to ensure GDPR compliance, organizations can strengthen data protection practices, build trust with individuals, and reduce the risk of penalties for non-compliance.